Siegel Energy Company and Siegel Family Papers
The collection contains photographs, records, and news clippings of the Siegel Energy Company and the Siegel family. Ben Siegel founded the Siegel Oil Company in 1927 when he opened a small filling station at Bayaud and Santa Fe in Denver, Colorado. Ben Siegel was later joined by his sons Arnold and Larry Siegel. Siegel Energy Company is now managed by a third-generation of the Siegel family.. The collection gives the history of a Jewish owned family business.
- Siegel, Ben, 1900-1990 (Person)
Biographical / Historical
For nearly 90 years, the Siegel Energy Corporation has been one of Colorado's premier petroleum distributers. In 1927, after working for seven years for the Denver Navy Gas and Supply Company, Ben Siegel founded his own company as the bulk fuel distributer. Today a third Siegel generation continues the family tradition. like so many other eastern European Jewish immigrants, the Siegel family immigrated to America in the early part of the twentieth century. His son, Ben, became a pioneer Denver oil man when the automobile industry was just gearing up. To help support his immigrant family, Ben left school before graduation and drove a truck for Tom and Sick McCusker's Navy and Gas and Supply Company.
Impressed by Ben's honesty, perseverance, and hard work, the McCuskers provided the financial backing for Ben to go out on his own. In partnership with his brother Barney, Ben started Siegel Oil Company in 1927 in a small adobe gas filling station at Santa Fe and Bayaud in Denver, Colorado, where gas was delivered in horse drawn wagons. Fifty years later the company facilities at 1380 Zuni Street featured a storage capacity of 350,000 gallons, held in huge white storage tanks, and sported the area's most modern bulk plant.
Undaunted by the challenges of the Great Depression of 1929, the death of Barney Siegel in 1942, World War II, and a 1965 flood that virtually destroyed its bulk plant at 101 Walnut, the Siegel family persevered. During World War II the company was subject to rationing and suffered from inadequate supply. Ben was also pulled to oversee his brother Isadore's business when he was drafted into service. The 1965 flood caused heavy damage to the company's office building and sent two 12,000 gallon tanks and one 10,000 gallon tank down the river, with damages exceeding $100,000. Siegel Oil recovered with the assistance of disaster loans and the support of suppliers and friends. The Siegel home served as the company's offices for a year and temporary headquarters were secured in the Wazee Market.
Siegel Oil served as a jobber or sales distributer for Standard oil of Indiana from 1932 to 1968, when it sold its retail sepgment of its operations to Standard. In 1972 Siegel oil moved to its Zuni location, which featured a storage capacity of 250,000 gallons of lubricating oil and antifreeze and 100,000 gallons of gas and diesel fuel. At that time Siegel Oil also became one of America's first petroleum enterprises to comply with EPA pollution and spillage control standards. It also featured one of the nation's largest selections of petroleum products. As the firm's reputation grew, the expertise of the family members was widely recognized. Ben was a founding member and a president of the Denver Petroleum Marketers. His son Larry was appointed to the advisory board of the Southern Colorado State University while his second son, Arnold, was elected as president of the reconfigured Colorado Petroleum Marketers Association. In addition, the Siegel sons became prominent in the Denver Jewish community, with Arnold serving as a president of hte BMH Congregation and a board member of the Allied Jewish Federation and the Jewish Community center. Larry served as a president of Temple Sinai and a board member of both the Herzl Day School and the DU Center for Judaic Studies.
Today the Siegel Energy Company, which includes Siegel Oil, Titan Laboratories - which since 1969 has produced Titan brand motor oil - and Equipment and Savers Fleet Services, remains a family operated enterprise with Larry's son Donald serving as the Chief Executive Officer. the company employs over 100 workers. Siegel Oil is the premier one-stop lubricant, chemical, and auto parts distrubtor in the Rocky Mountain West with more than 600,000 gallons of bulk storage.
Ben and Rose Siegel's sons Arnold and Larry both followed their father into the business. After two years at the University of Denver, Arnold joined the Navy and became part of Siegel Oil in 1946. Arnold was president of Colorado Petroleum Marketers Association. Younger brother Larry came on board in 1957 after he graduated from DU. In 1977, at the age of 76, Ben still came to work daily and served officially as the company's Executive Vice President, with Arnold as President and Larry taking the role of Secretary/Treasurer. In reality, Arnold Siegel took over the supervision of company operations while Larry presided over the sales and development aspects of the enterprise. The company is now called Siegel Energy Company and includes Titan labs and Titan Motor Oils. The Company is now run by Larry's daughter.
1.25 Linear Feet (2 containers)
Scope and Contents
The collection contains photographs, company records, newspaper clippings, mid- to late-20th century, that pertain to the history of the Siegel Oil Company.
This collection is arranged in three series: 1. Photographs, 1945-2000; 2. Company Records, 1945, 2012; 3. Newspaper Articles, 1934-1990.
Further accruals are expected.
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