Following the 1908 discovery of oil in Masjed Solaiman, in the Khuzestan Province, the establishment of a refinery with an access to international waterways became necessary. To that end, in 1909, the Abadan Oil Refinery was built along the shores of Arvand Rood (River), which runs into the Persian Gulf.
That resulted in a major economic growth in the area, inspiring some of our family members to relocate to Khuzestan and reap the benefits of the boom. Their journey during that pre-automobile era took months and required an extensive expedition on horseback, on mule or often on foot through the rugged Bakhtiari terrain of the Zagros range between Esfahan and Khuzestan.
Once in Khuzestan, some family members moved to Masjed Solaiman and secured jobs with the then Anglo Iranian Oil Company. Others stayed in Ahvaz, the capitol of the Khuzestan Province. Some of our family members -- such as Ostad Mehdi Motamedi, son of Ostad Mohamad, grandson of Ostad Mirza and great grandson of our ancestor -- continued their journey south to Abadan --100 kilometers (60 miles) south of Ahvaz – purchased property and moved their entire families.
Aerial view of part of Abadan.
Ostad Mehdi bought an estate in Abadan -- the city that housed one of the largest oil refineries in the world. There, in the Ahmadabad district, he built his family residence complete with large flower, fruit and vegetable gardens, a public bath house (Hamam), which he managed, and a block of stores, which he rented out to local merchants.
Above is a diagram of Ostad Mehdi’s estate, located on Lane One of Ahmadabad, a district of Abadan. In addition to the shops and the public bath house on one side and the living quarters on the other, the estate included almost an acre of vegetation behind the structure, consisting of fig trees, date palms, grape vines and other fruits as well as a vegetable garden and a flower bed.
Eventually, three of Ostad Mehdi’s children, namely Mohamad-Hossain, Mohamad-Ali and Mohamad-Hassan, all civil engineers, secured high-level positions with the Abadan Oil Refinery Company and each established his own family’s residency within the company community. Ostad Mehdi’s daughter, Manzarbanoo, along with her husband Nassrollah Afifi, both educators, became major, high-level contributors to the Abadan school system and also established their home in one of the residential areas provided by the company. His children Mohamad-Javad and Farangis as well as some of his grandchildren (such as Dariush and Siruss) attended elementary and high school in Abadan, prior to moving away from home in pursuit of higher education.
Home of Mohamad-Hossain and Hamdam-Khanom in Bavardeh Shomali, one of company districts in Abadan.
First home of Baba Ali (Mohamad-Ali) and Mama Pari in Bavardeh Jonoobi district.
Home of Manzarbanoo and Nasrollah Afifi in Bavardeh Shomali district.
A historical picture of college students at the Oil Company Technical College in Abadan during the early 1940s. In the front row, standing, the 5th person from right is Mohamad-Hossain Motamedi, and the 9th person from right is Mohamad-Ali Motamedi.