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Norma B. Doherty (1927-2007), Industrial Niagara, Undated; oil on canvas, 28 7/8 x 24 7/8; Gift of Elizabeth A. Doherty and Richard Wolin

Norma B. Doherty (1927-2007), Industrial Niagara, Undated; oil on canvas, 28 7/8 x 24 7/8; Gift of Elizabeth A. Doherty and Richard Wolin

The Hooker Electrochemical Company, pictured here, started operation in January of 1906. The facility was built on a plot of land between Buffalo Avenue and the the Niagara River in Niagara Falls. In the beginning, Hooker manufactured chlorine and caustic soda.  On May 27, 1910 fire broke out, and much of the wood constuction of the facility burned.  Reconstuction started immediately.

The outbreak of World War I meant a blockade of goods from the powerful chemical industry in Germany, and oportunity for manufactureres in the United States.  By 1918 the company had expanded its prodution to inlcude 15 other cholorine based chemicals and picric acid which was used in the production of explosives.

Over the next three decades Hoooker contued to expand its facilities in Niagara Falls and other cities.  At the Niagara plant dumping of waste in a nearby  landfill would eventualy be implicated in the Love Canal crisis.  In 1968 the facility was acquired by Oxidental Petrolium. Today the company is called Oxidental Chemical (OxyChem) with headquarters in Dallas, Texas.