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American Oil Refinery


On this date in 1953, the American Oil Company held groundbreaking ceremonies for a new refinery in Mandan. Oil had been discovered on the Clarence Iverson farm two years earlier, triggering a boom in the state’s oil industry. The refinery was dedicated in October 1954; Governor C. Norman Brunsdale attended and was presented with a series of crude oil and distillate samples, which he gave to the State Historical Society of North Dakota a year later.

The American Oil Company later commissioned a contemporary American illustrator, Charles McBarron, to do a series of historically accurate paintings of the American West. One of these was a gouache titled “Lewis and Clark at Mandan Village, 1804,” which American Oil presented to the state of North Dakota in 1962.

Dakota Datebook written by Merry Helm