Bulk Oil Plant in Chinatown, Los Angeles

Photos by Bruce Petty

All New Color Photos!

During the 1960s, I took these photos of the Manely Oil Company in Los Angeles, next to Chinatown, it was one of the last surviving downtown oilfields. For those of you that have seen this page before with Black & White photos, now it's in COLOR. All my old color slides that were taken at the same time B&W have been processed into the website.

Tank trucks would unload in this pit so the oil could be processed, such as removing water.

This old REO truck that went around collecting oil from holding tanks from the last few fields in downtown Los Angeles.

Here is an old heat exchanger set between two tanks at the back of the plant. It may have been used to heat thicker oil to lower the viscosity, by doing this the oil is pumped through pipes easily.

In the foreground of this tank is a pit where oil is pumped by the duplex steam pump seen in front of the tank. Look closely in the background, a small vertical boiler is also seen in the lower picture.

Around the plant were oil tanks of many sizes for storage, used until the oil could be taken to the refinery. Look closely and you will see a wooden tank.

After the oil has gone through the process it is held in these tanks for transport to the refinery.

Steam was used to heat oil and operate steam pumps moving the oil from tank to tank. Here is a small vertical boiler seen at the right of the work bench, behind are several large steam boilers.

More oil tanks and this grand old truck once used around the plant. I wanted to buy this truck so bad, but the plant owner wanted to keep it.

These are the trucks used to work on the wells. From the collection of the California Division of Oil and Gas Department.

This is a newer Manley Oil's well rework rig taken January 16, 2010, having the same old derrick as seen in the picture above. The rig is stored near the LA river.

Now the old bulk plant is just a parking lot with just a few oil wells still operating.


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