Kristine Coulter • Beacon Free Press
May 29, 2013
FISHKILL – Tours of the former Texaco Research Center in the Fishkill hamlet of Glenham were given to Texaco retirees that worked at the facility recently. Former employees were driven by·bus around to see what work has been done· and what the
site now· looks like with just the slabs of the buildings that remain.
“It’s going to be sad. It’s going to be kind of disorienting,” said Mark Hendrickson, Chevron Environmental Management Company. Hendrickson worked at the facility for 10 years.
Bill Morse worked at Texaco from1968 until 1985. He worked in the combustion section.
“You would have three generations working here. Cousins, nieces, nephews working here,” said Morse.
Chevron – The Beacon Campus Cleanup Project – Former Texaco workers get a look at site sans buildings
Texaco retirees Bill Rogers, left, and Gil Darrah, right, took a
tour of the former site in glenham earlier this month.
Morse, who wore a Texaco baseball cap, said most people put decades into the company.
Jean Mortensen’s husband, Carl Mortensen, who has since passed away, worked for the company from 1949 until 1985. They lived in Glenham for 43 years, she said.
”He started .out in Building 28,” said Mortensen. Her husband was the technical advisor for advertising, she explained. He worked mostly in Building 50, the one most people know that was on the property, the majority of his time working at
Texaco, Mortensen stated.
“We loved this area,” she said. Mrs. Mortensen talked of how her children had the old Texaco Recreation fields ·as their
backyard. She said her children had the big hill to go sleigh riding down in the winters.
“I just wanted to see what happened,” said Mortensen of the property. She said she drove past as the buildings were being
According to Chevron’s Web site about the campus’ history, the site was once the site of a woolen mill, where blue serge
cloth was made for uniforms during the Civil War. The property was bought in 1931. In 1951, grounds were broken for
Building 50. In 1954, the Board of Directors of the company fronted an independent Research and Technical Department. During the later years at the facility, numerous advancements to meet increasing environmental requirements were developed. The facility was opened from 1931-2003. In 2001, Texaco was acquired· by Chevron, according to the Web site. The New York State Department of Environmental Conservation is the lead regulatory oversight for the site, with additional oversight provided by the New York State Department of Health.
“I don’t think any surprises came up,” said Hendrickson about the removal of the buildings. Phase I removal of the
buildings began in 2011.
He added, “We’ll do more assessment work. A lot of the investigative work was to assess the conditions. The next big
thing to do is assess what techniques are applicable to meet environmental conditions at the site.” New York State will have to agree, he said.
Hendrickson said monthly meetings, which will be held every other month now, were held to keep the community aware of
Gil Darrah, who worked on the site beginning in 1978, told of how he let one of the people who worked in his department put the padlock on when the site closed.
Darrah, who lives in Plattekill, said, “I wanted to see how everything was going.”
He said he enjoyed the time he worked at Texaco.
Bill Rogers, a resident of New Windsor, said, “I just wanted to see how they’re progressing” and that is why he decided to take the tour.
He also added, “I wanted to see old friends and to see if they could recognize me.”
Rogers worked for the company for 39 years.
“It’s the end of an era, especially for this area, but it’s the beginning of a future, too,” Rogers stated. ”It’s a shame to see it end.”
Wappingers Falls residents Ray Dolfinger and Sheila Dolfinger took the tour of the site.
“It was good,” Ray Dolfinger said of the tour.
Sheila Dolfinger said the tour brought back many positive memories of going to the site for open houses and Family Days.
“I hope they preserve a lot of the natural and wooded areas,” she said.