Murray Saul takes on SOHIO
In 1968, Sohio merged with British Petroleum (BP). Though the deal was announced as Sohio acquiring BP interests in North America, the terms stipulated that BP would have majority interest in Sohio’s share of oil production from the Alaskan Pipeline’s Prudhoe Bay oilfield once it achieved 600,000 barrels per day.
During the Sohio Building construction, British Petroleum purchased the remaining 45 percent of Standard Oil of Ohio and the company was renamed BP America.
Regrettably for Cleveland, when British Petroleum acquired the Chicago-based Amoco Corp. in 1998, the company announced that it would relocate its headquarters to Chicago and put the building up for sale.
Since then, most of the building has remained vacant, though recently the Columbus-based Huntington Bank announced plans to move from its current East Ninth and Euclid Avenue site to the BP Building, which will be renamed for the bank.
Though he claimed no premonition, Murray closed the program by asking Sohio to “stay in Ohio.”
Sohio was a major radio and television advertiser and radio stations, WMMS among them, used a special sounder when the temperature dropped below a certain temperature to provide a special weather update, mentioning how Sohio gas “prevents fuel line freeze-ups” with the close “You go or Sohio pays your tow.”
Murray Saul on the interview
The brand name “Sohio” harkens back to the glory years when the Rockefellers and Standard Oil were headquartered in Cleveland. After the anti trust breakup Standard Oil of Ohio (SOHIO) remained here.
The big breakthrough came when they hit oil in Alaska in Prudhoe Bay. As part of the celebration Sohio announced they would erect a sky scraper of their own, right on Public Square.
Pitt Curtis was public relations director for Sohio, and was happy to discuss it on We, the People. The irony is of course, they built it, were bought out by the Queen; British Petroleum was very Royal back then, and pulled out of Cleveland.
It should be noted that my last words were “Stay in Cleveland”