Pacific Coast Oil Co. headquarters in Newhall, circa 1910s.
Alex Mentry is well remembered for having brought in California's first successful oil well in 1876 in Pico Canyon,
but it was Demetrius G. Scofield who made it possible by hiring Mentry and financing the operation. Scofield bought up the local oil claims
which had been worked without success since the late 1860s and lined up investors, forming one oil company after another.
On September 10, 1879, he consolidated his operations into the Pacific Coast Oil Company, which was headquarted
Oil flowed like water from Pico for the next 20 years and was actually petering out when oil baron John D.
Rockefeller started to look west. Rockefeller's Standard Oil Co. of New Jersey acquired Pacific Coast Oil
in 1900; on Oct. 4, 1906, Rockefeller reorganized his California holdings as Standard Oil Co. of California
and installed Scofield as president.
By the time this photo was shot, probably in the 1910s, the onetime PCO headquarters had been turned into a second-hand
store (called, appropriately, "2nd [hand image] Store"). The contraption at right is an early version of a catering
truck with its shutter closed a diner on wheels that would have followed the migrant oil workers from one
boom town to the next.
Photo: Standard Oil Company of California.