September Newsletter 2020
The Oil Center

The Oil Center


Aerial view of the Oil Center circa 1953 – intersection of St. Mary Blvd. and Pinhook, current site of the Petroleum Club.


Envisioned as a “city within a city” by influential and forward-thinking Lafayette businessman, Maurice Heymann, the Oil Center is poised for redevelopment and is a designated Opportunity Zone. Read more about the future of the iconic district here. The Oil Center National Historic District, when approved by the NPS, will be within the state-approved Oil Center Cultural District. Historic buildings within Cultural Districts are eligible for Commercial Historic Rehabilitation Tax Credits.


Unfortunately the home at 418 Garfield is no longer in existence for an inquisitive descendant of Marceline LeBrun.

A resident of Danville, CA, recently reached out to PAL in her search to locate a family home on Garfield Street. She shared this timely story with us:
I’m working on old letters that were written to my great grandfather in Joplin, MO from his half sisters in New Iberia and Lafayette.  Quite a coincidence as the first letter written in 1905 described the quarantine because of the yellow fever in New Iberia being only 8 blocks away.  I’ve had these letters for years and because of the pandemic I thought I’d work on them.  These letters are filled with family history, everyday chores, health scares, social gatherings, tragedy and family drama.

One silver lining of this pandemic for me is that I’ve connected with distant cousins who live in Folsom, LA and north of me in Lake County (north of San Francisco.)  They have many of the same 150 yr. photos that we’ve been able to identify together.  [It is s]o frustrating that many photos do not have any info written on them.

May this preservationist’s journey inspire you to re-connect and preserve your family’s history, including the places that made it.