This blog reports events and interesting tidbits from Rensselaer, Indiana and the surrounding area.

Friday, March 12, 2010

North of the tracks

The area of north of the railroad tracks along Walnut Street remains a mystery to me. There are a lot of old buildings that have activity, but I am not sure what the purpose of that activity is. One of those buildings is an old building in the lot between Scott and Webster.
 
Here is a closer look. It is a concrete block building with what appears to be a some modernization on the east side. The windows are no longer unbroken, so the building cannot be used for anything other than storage.
  
Here is the view from the railroad tracks. It looks like it might have been a depot, but it never was.
  
It might be the blue building in the map below, which shows this area in 1921. (Click on the picture for a larger view.) This lot which is now mostly empty had fuel storage tanks for three oil companies, Texas Refining (Texaco), Standard, and the Ohio Oil Company. On the other side of Walnut, there were storage tanks for Sinclair, and on the other side of Scott was storage for Shell. My guess is that a switch from delivery of fuel by rail to delivery of fuel by tanker truck made all of these facilities obsolete.

The blue building looks to be a bit too far away from Webster, but the concrete structure shown above does seem to be old enough to be here.
  

When did these tanks get removed? Did the tanks that were removed last year a fit further down Walnut date from the same period, or were they later?

A couple of other things are interesting in the map above. Notice the cattle pen. That area is now an empty lot, but it looks like it once had a large frame structure. I assume that this was where farmers could load livestock onto the train to have them shipped to market. The junkyard on Walnut is where Rainbow Cleaning was located.  There are foundations in the area to the west of the junkyard, so between 1921 and now there were buildings constructed and then torn down. The ambulance is now occupies the lot next to where Sinclair Oil once was. Finally, there is a building in the location where the maps shows the Shell Oil headquarters, so the building on the map may still be standing. (The map does not show anything further to the east. That lot is now owned by Talbert. I do not know what they do there.)

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