This all started with me back on June 5, 1916 when I graduated from school in Indianapolis, Indiana. My brother, Carl E. Williams, was employed at the Republic Creosoting Company there and secured me a job with them.

The next year in October 1917, he and his wife left for St. Louis Park and settled on Louisiana Avenue (Library Lane) in the former Carl Reiss home. The population at that time was less then 4,000. A new plant was being built, and he was to be superintendent of the refinery. This operation consisted of taking coal tar and refining it to make creosote oil for wood preserving. The St. Louis Park plant was located on the site of an old sugar beet factory. The boundary lines were Walker Street, Oak Hill Community Park and the new Oak Park Condominiums.

A. E. Larkin, quite a football star for the University of Minnesota around 1910, was general manager of the Republic Creosoting Company’s Minneapolis plant. This plant was located by the flour mills in Southeast Minneapolis and made paving blocks for streets, which were the big thing then. He was later general manager of the St. Louis Park operation.

Republic Creosoting Company of St. Louis Park not only refined creosote oil for wood preserving, but also had a treating plant. They treated railroad ties for the Milwaukee, M&STL, Northwestern, Great Northern and Omaha railroads, also poles, piling and lumber. The plant site was enlarged in the 1920s to its 180 some acres to store and season the ties and lumber. Some land was donated to the City of St. Louis Park for the present Oak Hill Community Park.

Back in the depression days many people who lived in St. Louis Park worked at the plant. We operated three days a week. But that was not for long and we went back to normal operation. After the depression of the thirties, and down thru the years, many new plants were built. These, together with the old, were to be known as The Reilly Tar & Chemical Corporation.

I met A. E. Larkin in May 1918 at the Indianapolis plant. He asked me if I would like to come up to St. Louis Park. I accepted and was transferred. I arrived on June 7, 1918. After I started with the Company in 1916, I have done a lot of jobs, mostly as chemist. I studied with T. W. Smith and other professors employed by the company.

I visited the Koppers plant in St. Paul a few times. They produced gas for the city and we took their by-products of crude coal tar for making creosote oil and different products. By the way, there is only a gallon of crude tar in a ton of coal, after the coal is broken down. This was called Koppers process for making gas for gas lights and cooking back in those days.

I had a home built in 1923 and we have resided on Brownlow Avenue since. I retired in 1966 with 50 years of service and a big party. I enjoyed working for a wonderful company and also living in St. Louis Park all these years.

Mr. & Mrs. J. Frank Williams
February 1982