Linda Grashoff's Photography Adventures

There’s Oil in These Here Flatlands

May 14, 2023

You (or at least I) don’t usually think of Ohio as an oil-producing state, but I learned in putting together this post that Ohio ranks 13th in oil production in the country. Most of the oil is not in my county of Lorain. (See map and accompanying information.) Still, when I wander around the southeastern part of Lorain County, I often see what look like abandoned oil tanks and pumping rigs. Occasionally I find a pump that is still working.

I don’t know whether these pumps were working; they weren’t pumping when I took this and the next photograph last month.


3 In 2014 I found this working one. Two more photos will show you it was pumping.



6 Last year I found this holding tank and an accompanying natural-gas gizmo in Medina County, to the east of us. Natural gas and oil are frequently found in the same well.

7 Ah, but last month I found this cluster of oil tanks in a beautiful state of degradation.

8 Of course I had to go closer.








16 I’ll be looking for more oil tanks the next time I wander around northern Ohio.

19 responses

  1. Not surprisingly, you derived some good colorful abstractions from the paint-peeled sides of those tanks.

    Ohio borders Pennsylvania, which has a history of oil production, so it’s not surprising that eastern Ohio should also be oil country.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 14, 2023 at 6:40 PM

    • Thanks, Steve. No matter how many peeling-paint photos I see and take, I can’t resist taking more. I’m still not used to living in a state that borders Pennsylvania, having lived slightly more than half my life in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan.


      May 14, 2023 at 8:16 PM

  2. What a treasure trove of decaying metal. You may have outdone yourself, Linda. Beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 14, 2023 at 8:58 PM

  3. Sue

    Love your degradation images!

    Liked by 1 person

    May 15, 2023 at 4:18 AM

  4. Fine set, Linda! Nr8 is great; and 16 is also a beauty with all those colors.


    May 15, 2023 at 5:04 AM

  5. Marjorie Porter

    Beneficent side effects of a malefaction

    Liked by 1 person

    May 15, 2023 at 12:08 PM

  6. Pretty sure Standard Oil ( what eventually became Esso / Exxon) started there.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 16, 2023 at 3:29 PM

    • Thanks; you’re right, Joe. I’d either forgotten or never knew. This is from the online Britanica:

      “Standard Oil, in full Standard Oil Company and Trust, American company and corporate trust that from 1870 to 1911 was the industrial empire of John D. Rockefeller and associates, controlling almost all oil production, processing, marketing, and transportation in the United States.

      “The company’s origins date to 1863, when Rockefeller joined Maurice B. Clark and Samuel Andrews in a Cleveland, Ohio, oil-refining business.”


      May 18, 2023 at 3:47 PM

  7. I think that the Ohio part of Standard Oil split off as Sohio which was eventually acquired by BP. I remember all the Sohio service stations transforming to BP but don’t recall what decade it happen. :-/

    I have always been interested in oil exploration and production since I was a kid. Lots of stories…friends and relatives in those businesses. Now tempered by the negative climate and environmental effects. I’m glad you found some beautiful oxidation and peeling paint on those old tanks. {Take care around the pumps; they can start up without any warning. But they’re pretty interesting things too. 🙂 }

    Liked by 1 person

    May 20, 2023 at 9:49 PM

  8. It wasn’t long ago that I learned Michigan has a Trust Fund that awards money for conservation and recreation land purchase projects offered to municipalities. A big part of that fund comes from fossil fuel revenues. One of those “huh…” things that you aren’t quite so sure on how to feel about it – is it a good, is it irony, is it a greenwash? But given I have seen those funds used in numerous places, I figure it is better there than in somebody’s pocket I suppose.

    Given I’ve seen those pumps standing in fields – I’ve always wondered are they pumping to somewhere to store the oil? It always seems like they are alone in a field, leaving you wonder where is it going! 🙂

    Thanks for the closer looks Linda – perhaps lots of metaphors to be found – even in the paint that has fossil fuel elements to it.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 26, 2023 at 9:55 AM

    • I have to second your perplexity and conclusion about Michigan’s fossil-fueled trust fund, Mark. I’m sure there is a huge story to tell about the pumps in the fields, but I’ll leave its telling to someone else. I love your observation that the paint includes elements of fossil fuel. So much does; I almost don’t want to think about it. At least plastic can be made from corn stalks and other organic “waste.” I don’t know how much of it is, though.


      May 31, 2023 at 10:03 PM

  9. Hi Linda, what an interesting topic to explore. The cluster of tanks you found and the closeups are my favorites here. And the colors on that huge tank in the woods in the last photos – wow, beautiful. I apologize for being about 2 weeks late here! Things were very busy and then when things slowed down I kind of collapsed. And the email piled up. Nothing is medically wrong, just maybe too many sensory impressions in a short time. I’m sure you get it.

    Liked by 1 person

    May 30, 2023 at 2:39 PM

    • I probably get it more than you do, Lynn. I’m still trying to catch up on email from two days of being mostly offline last week. Thank you for making the time to comment, and for your comment itself. I’ve been looking for other photogenic oil tanks, but the ones I’ve seen are either too new or two monochrome. I’ll keep looking. I’m very glad that nothing is medically wrong. You take care.

      Liked by 1 person

      May 31, 2023 at 9:56 PM

It's a pleasure to read your comments.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.