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Checkerboard Wyoming: How Oil Refiners and the Railroad Effect Southwest Wyoming

December 05, 2017

Bob King, author and
Bob King, author and engineer, will give a presentation on the history of oil refiners and railroads in Southwest Wyoming at WWCC January 10th, at 6:30PM.

Western Wyoming Community College and WWWC’s Historical Society welcome Bob King for a presentation on oil refineries and railroads in Southwest Wyoming, January 10th, 2018 at 6:30PM in room 1309.

Bob King graduated in 1972 with a degree in Chemical and Petroleum Refining Engineering from Colorado School of Mines. He is the author two books: Kettles and Crackers – a History of Wyoming Oil Refineries, and Trails to Rails, A History of Wyoming’s Railroads.

Kettles and Crackers – a History of Wyoming Oil Refineries discuses the early "tea kettle" refineries and how they used concepts similar to 19th century whale-oil refining and coal-oil plants. In the early 1900’s the automobile industry demanded gasoline, and the process of “cracking” was developed to increase yields. The answers to when, where, and why more than 70 refineries were constructed in Wyoming, and why most no longer exist, can be found in this book.

Trails to Rails, A History of Wyoming’s Railroads takes readers back in time on a journey through the birth of the railroad in 1862 to the late 1970’s with the transportation of minerals.

“If you are looking for a good chuckle this is the presentation for you! Bob King brings such a great mix of humor and passion to his presentation that you will not want to miss this event. He is thorough in his research on the economic gains with oil refineries and the railroad.  His background in engineering helps provide a realistic approach to his studies, as well as a deeper insight into the humanistic factors associated with the economic value. Don't forget to mark this date on the calendar you won't want to miss it,” said Sam Worden, publicist for the WWCC Historical Society.


Bob will be showing his research on oil refineries and their direct effects to the growth and economic gains in Southwest Wyoming. Following the presentation, books will be available for purchase, and the author will be available for signing.

This event is sponsored by Western Wyoming Community College Historical Society and the WWCC History Program. Water and light snacks will be available. This event is free and open to the public. The community is encouraged to attend.

For more information on this event, please contact Mark Neels at, or by phone at (307) 382-1771. 

For more information, contact Audrey Harton at (307) 382-1661 or
(307) 382-1600 or toll free (800) 226-1181