War Emergency Pipeline
The marker is located at the intersection of East Main Street and Illinois Route 1 in Norris City.
Enbridge – Texas Eastern Company and the Illinois State Historical Society
Before the bombing of Pearl Harbor on December 7, 1941, and entry of the United States into World War II, 95 percent of the crude oil delivered to east coast oil refineries was transported by tanker ships with 90 percent of that oil from Texas oil fields. In 1942, oil tankers from the Gulf of Mexico were being sunk by German submarines at the rate of three per day. A committee appointed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt recommended an overland pipeline be built from Longview, Texas, to Norris City, Illinois.
Work began at Longview, Texas, on August 3, 1942, with a dedication ceremony at Norris City upon completion on February 19, 1943. Newspapers and radio stations recorded the event. Newsreels of the event were shown prior to movies in theaters all over America. The first day 60,000 barrels of crude oil flowed into Norris City. The first train load of oil (96 oil tankers) left Norris City the night of the dedication headed for eastern oil refineries.
Fifteen 80,000 barrel storage tanks were built plus three loading racks to load tank cars on the New York Central train tracks. 13,500 barrels of crude oil were received hourly on this pipeline. Between February 19 and September 1, 1943, the railroad hauled 124,193 tankers of oil out of Norris City. The War Emergency Pipeline put 3,500 people to work building the pipeline.
The pipeline’s impact on the war effort was tremendous, enabling the safe and timely transport of oil vital to the Allies during the height of wartime service.
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