Windy City Air Lease - Page 2

Air Piping

Air piping from the compressors ran along the ground in a pair of loops.  The loops acted as aftercoolers for the compressors to reduce the temperature of the compressed air and to remove moisture from the air.

Site in 1980s

This photo gives an overview of the site of the air compressing plant.  The cooling water storage tank for the engines is visible at the right of the photo.  It was kept full from a spring on the hill and the water was "wasted" through the engines into the little stream which also forms the exhaust pit.  The tank was always full and just overflowed into the stream.

Oil Pump

Shown here is one of the steam engine and pump jack installations at a Windy City well in the 1980s.  The Blaisdell compressor engines supplied air to operate 48 steam engines that pumped individual oil wells.

Jim and the Blaisdell 

Jim McCauley began working in the Windy City oil field while he was in high school.  His first job was painting oil derricks.  After a period away for military service, he returned to Windy City and worked for 12 years pumping wells as an assistant in the field.  In 1956, Clifton Meyer retired from Windy City and Jim McCauley operated the lease by himself until 1989.  Although his main job was pumping oil, he also maintained the air compressing equipment and the oil pumping equipment.  The Cletrac was retired somewhere along the way and Jim used a very capable Caterpillar 30 with a big pulling winch to service the wells.

The photo shows Jim McCauley describing the features of the Blaisdell compressor engine on its last day of operation, July 29, 1989.  The final run of the engine is documented in CPM Video publication “Windy City Air Lease…Its Last Run.”  Jim subsequently retired from his long and productive career in the Windy City field.

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