Leonard Frederick Benckenstein
(May 15, 1869 - Jan. 30, 1952)
A millionaire by his early thirties, Leonard Frederick Benckenstein made his first fortune in Detroit, where he was involved in the insurance, stock, and bond business. His friendship with prominent East Texas lumberman John Henry Kirby led him to Beaumont, where he was visiting when the Lucas gusher came in in 1904.
Benckenstein came out of retirement to begin investing in the great speculation that followed the oil discovery. While initially successful, he eventually suffered enormous losses. He remained active in the oil business, however, and later was given a lease to drill for oil on the Ged Gray Ranch in Calcasieu Parish, Louisiana. The successful venture resulted in the founding of Vinton Petroleum Company, which came to be owned by Benckenstein and Orange businessmen W. H. Stark and Dr. E. W. Brown.
After the death of his first wife, Genevieve (Peterson), in 1914, Benckenstein married Louise Sneed, and they moved to Orange, where he could better manage the affairs of Vinton Petroleum. While living in the city, he helped organize Orange's Red Cross chapter and became a board member of the First National Bank of Orange.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Industry & Commerce • Settlements & Settlers.
Location. 30° 5.576′ N, 93° 44.19′ W. Marker is in Orange, Texas, in Orange County. Marker is on West Green Avenue near Seventh Street, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Orange TX 77630, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. History of Orange, Texas Rotary Club (within shouting distance of this marker); History of Rotary International (within shouting distance of this marker); The City of Orange (within shouting distance of this marker); Henry Jacob Lutcher (within shouting distance of this marker); Henry Jacob Lutcher Stark (within shouting distance of this marker); Ever Changing Landscapes (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); W.H. Stark House (about 400 feet away); Lutcher Memorial Church Building (about 500 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Orange.
Credits. This page was last revised on December 22, 2019. It was originally submitted on April 12, 2018, by Cajun Scrambler of Assumption, Louisiana. This page has been viewed 126 times since then and 13 times this year. Photos: 1, 2. submitted on April 12, 2018.