The Gavilon Fertilizer LLC’s Creve Coeur facility was built by Tuloma Gas Products, a subsidiary of Standard Oil Co., in 1965 and 1966 on land purchased from the Peoria & Pekin Union Railway.
Late winter 1966 marked completion of three storage tanks which could hold 12 million gallons of anhydrous ammonia. By November, three more storage tanks, together holding 2.5 million gallons of super-phosphoric acid, were in operation. Three tracks built for this facility are seen below on October 4, 2012.
A processing plant (seen below, October 4, 2012) to convert super-phosphoric acid to nitrogen-phosphate solution began limited operations in late 1966, with full operations in early 1967. Super-phosphoric acid was shipped to Creve Coeur from Texas Gulf Sulphur Co.’s Lee Creek, North Carolina plant.
Tuloma’s plant shipped nitrogen-phosphate solution to Congerville, Galva and Saunemin to be cold-mixed with potash then distributed to 170 retail outlets.
Standard Oil merged its subsidiaries Tuloma Gas Products and American Oil Co. (Amoco) on July 1, 1968. Operations remained stable for the next 15 years. Then, Standard Oil sold its Fertilizer & Pesticides Division to Scoular Grain Co.’s Cropmate Co. on September 1, 1983. In 1985, ConAgra’s United Agri-Products (UAP) acquired Cropmate, and about 1991, sold the ammonia storage operation to Koch Nitrogen Corp.
By 2000, Cropmate’s Creve Coeur terminal had been re-branded as UAP Fertilizer, but then in 2003, ConAgra sold UAP to investors. The Creve Coeur terminal, however, continued to operate under the name “ConAgra Fertilizer Company” until 2008 when it was acquired by Gavilon.
Koch apparently discontinued operations at its adjacent ammonia terminal some time after acquiring bankrupt Farmland Industries’ fertilizer operations in 2003. That company’s Henry terminal was deemed sufficient to serve the region. Rail shipping or receiving had ceased at the Creve Coeur facility by the late 1990s, however.
In the winter of 2007, the Koch facility received a number of tank cars loaded with soybean oil. This product was stored there until shipped to a bio-diesel plant. I never did find out who the consignee was, but by 2011, Gavilon had clearly taken over operations. That’s when a big increase in ammonia shipments from Dakota Gas in Beulah, North Dakota began.
Today, Gavilon’s Creve Coeur operation is an ammonia storage terminal, though one may see nitrogen fertilizer solution and phosphoric acid plus dry products such as potash, phosphate and urea as well. It is a fairly regular, year-round customer for the Tazewell & Peoria Railroad.
– David P. Jordan