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Company History

Company History photo

Company History

Founded by the late Ben Saunders and his wife, Ethel, prior to World War II, White Mountain Oil originally delivered range oil to houses, farms and businesses around Mt. Washington Valley. Soon Ben and his co-workers began replacing coal-fired boilers and furnaces with "modern" oil systems. Ben and his crew often delivered oil and kerosene all day and worked evenings installing oil burners and heating equipment.

vintage photo of propane trucks


In 1949, White Mountain Oil constructed an office and showroom at the site of the former Tony Lena's sub shop (now Via Roma) on South Main Street. This new building allowed for a showroom for the sale of kitchen appliances. Local townspeople were amazed to see appliances of different makes, sizes, and colors all under one roof.


Also, while in our South Main Street location, White Mountain Oil entered the propane gas business. At that time, propane was known as "bottled gas" and was more a factor of the home appliance line (stoves, refrigerators, water heaters) than of the heating fuel division. Perhaps it was an accidental start but now the propane aspect of our operation far exceeds our oil sales with multiple homes, condominium complexes, malls and industrial locations serviced by a fleet of propane tanker trucks.


vintage photo of fuel truck loading


In the early 1950's however, propane was transported only in one-hundred pound cylinders dropped off the back of a pick-up truck. White Mountain Oil delivered full tanks by hand while empty ones were returned and collected at the shop for a re-fill. It was hard, physical work especially in the deep snows of winter. In the 1950's our current North Main Street, North Conway Village office and showroom was constructed.    


In 1965 White Mountain Oil & Propane built our own propane bulk plant in North Conway on the old Maine Central Railroad siding. It was also in the 1960's that Ben and Ethel's two sons, Glenn and Scott, returned from the service and college to join their father in the growth of the business. 


vintage photo of ESSO gas stationOver the years White Mountain Oil & Propane has grown to a force of approximately 50 employees serving thousands of customers in northern New Hampshire and Western Maine. In the late 1990's, we installed a state-of-the-art propane and fuel-oil storage facility in Conway, NH. In the mid 2000's, we completed construction of a new propane storage plant in Campton, NH. In 2014 we opened a storefront/office in Lincoln, NH to better serve the community in the Lincoln/Woodstock area. 


Glenn Saunders and his sons Kirk and Mark now run the company.  Prior to Ben's death in November of 2012 and Ethel's in 2020,  Ben and Ethel used to sit on their porch, next door to the main offices and watch with great pride, the growth of the company they started nearly 80 years ago.



Click on the logo below to check out the view from the summit of Mount Washington as well as other White Mountain views today!

Mt Washington Observatory