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The Rubbertown industrial complex was created with construction by Standard Oil of Kentucky, who built an oil refinery in the area in 1918. Two other companies would come to the area for similar business in the 1930's, Aetna Oil and Louisville Refinery. These refineries were producers of fuel, gasoline, kerosene, naptha, oil, and petroleum coke. These refineries have since been torn down and replaced by petroleum terminals. From 1924 to 1959, Bond Brothers, the largest railroad tie manufacturer in the United States, had operations in the area.

Upon the arrival of World War II, Rubbertown exploded with activity. In 1941, the U.S. Office of War Production, contracted with National Carbide, constructed a calcium carbide/acetylene gas plant. They were also involved with the B.F. Goodrich Corporation to build an adjacent plant. A company known as E. I. du Pont de Nemours and Company was also contracted in 1941 to build a Neoprene synthetic rubber plant.

Later on in 1945, Union Carbide built a plant in the complex to manufactor butadiene from grain alcohol that was piped to Rubbertown from distilleries in Louisville. Also in that year, a consortium of five tire companies known as National Synthetic Rubber opened a plant to make styrene-butadiene rubber for tires needed in the war effort.

For many years after the war, the federal government would continue to operate the styrene-butadiene rubber plant, up until 1955. In that year, the plant was auctioned off to 20 rubber companies. Also in that year, DuPont built a Freon production block next to its Neoprene plant. The company would also add an additional unit to manufacture vinyl fluoride.

In 1961, the Union Carbide plant was sold to Rohm and Haas Co. to create acrylic plastic and such products. Dow Chemicals bought the company in 2009. In 1979, Borden Chemical Inc. opened a building to produce formaldehyde, urea-formaldehyde resins, phenolic resins, and adhesives. The plant later was Hexion and now is Momentive.

To see how we've changed through the years, you may view a photo timeline here.

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