One of the first sites that Trent and I explored was the Stuart Moore Oil Company building. The complex was hidden in plain sight in the downtown area. The absence of ‘No Trespassing’ signs did not do much for our anxieties, though I’m not sure if they were fueled more by the potential for getting arrested or the potential for running into one of or some of the homeless people we knew liked to use the building as a shelter.
The 7,000 square foot building had a long history in Bloomington. It was built in 1918 by John D. Rockefeller as part of a chain of Standard Oil distributors and has operated continuously as an oil and gas company since.
At the time of its closure, it was owned by Stuart Moore of the Stuart Moore Oil Company. Even as the building housed an active business, homeless people were staying on the grounds, Moore told NPR station WFIU in a 2011 interview.
The last business to occupy the building shut down in 2005. Since then, it has been plagued by fires and a growing population of squatters. But it’s location next to the B-Line Trail, a nationally designated recreation trail that runs through the downtown area, has made it, once again, a desirable location to do business. Perhaps that was the draw for Fields Environmental, Inc., a company that specializes in cleaning up and revitalizing former industrial properties, which purchased the building and grounds in 2011 for around $39,000.
According to a Herald-Times article posted on the Fields Environmental, Inc. website, in 2011 plans for the space were to turn it into a brewery with a rooftop beer garden.