Wood River Refinery’s First 100 Years

Wood River Refinery, 2017

Wood River Refinery, 2017. MCHS photograph courtesy of the Wood River Refinery.

One hundred years after its construction, the Wood River Refinery constitutes nearly 2% of the United States’ petroleum industry’s processing capacity of 18.5 million barrels of crude oil a day. Industry experts predict that the world’s energy consumption will increase by about 50% over the next 25 years and will mostly be satisfied by fossil fuels. At the same time, refineries continue to adapt amid evolving Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) regulations mitigating the adverse impacts of their products on health and the environment.

This online exhibition presents the first 100 years of the Wood River Refinery’s history, as it transformed from a scrappy young company into a sophisticated industry competitor. The exhibition features images from Madison County Historical Society (MCHS) collections. It was written and designed by Mary Z. Rose, Assistant Curator at the Madison County Historical Museum and Archival Library. Please send your feedback and/or any questions about this exhibition to madisoncountyhistoryil@gmail.com.

Note: This exhibition includes oil processing and employment statistics for the refinery throughout its history. For a graphical representation of the statistics over time, see exhibit page Post-Shell at the Wood River Refinery. For information about the sources of the statistics, see exhibit page Selected Bibliography.