June 4th, 2020

Anacortes welcomes news of refinery: 1953

Sixty-seven years ago this week, local newspaper publisher Wallie Funk finally shared in his newspaper what he had learned earlier from sources who swore him to secrecy. On June 2, 1953, local paper carriers scrambled up and down Commercial Avenue hawking a special edition of the American Bulletin newspaper. The front page featured only four words, printed in bold 3-inch letters: “Shell Picks Local Site.” Pictured here with a copy of that newspaper was Anacortes Mayor Ray Pinson with Shell executive James Pendergast (photo by Funk). Shell built the refinery on March’s Point starting in 1953 and it went online in 1955. Texaco followed with a March’s Point refinery that became operational in 1958. The original Shell refinery changed hands and is now owned by Marathon Petroleum. Shell purchased the adjacent refinery, initially established by Texaco.

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About Photographer Steve Berentson

A fourth generation Skagit County native who was moved kicking and screaming from this island community in 1960. I finally reclaimed an Anacortes address in 1980, and I have been in constant celebration of my return since that time. Many of us who call Anacortes home love Fidalgo Island for its natural assets: among them are rugged beaches, pristine lakes, thousands of acres of forestland and some awesome views of the Skagit Valley and surrounding islands. Another element of my love affair with this community is its people, both natives and immigrants. They will “star” in many of my journal entries.

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