It was at this time that the press, finally, took notice of Standard Oil and Rockefeller. In November 1878, the New York Sun featured a full-length profile of Rockefeller, and among the article's assertions was mention of a secret railroad deal from which Rockefeller benefited tremendously . . . put no proof was offered. By the early-1880s, Rockefeller had universal notoriety, much to his great chagrin and irritation.
In 1883, Rockefeller moved from Cleveland to New York City, pulled to the city due to the heavy kerosene trade. By 1884, Cleveland had been relegated to inferior status in terms of refining, and NYC, with all its seaboard refineries and its great port, was the new epicenter for Standard Oil. The export boom of petroleum products meant that Rockefeller had refineries in Brooklyn, Bayonne (NJ), Philadelphia, and Baltimore.
In 1881, Pennsylvania tried to tax Standard Oil properties, and Rockefeller feared that other states would follow suit, which would in essence mean that Rockefeller and Standard Oil would be held hostage by state governments. Standard Oil's holdings had reached a point where consolidation had to occur just to keep track of what was going on in the company and to continue to maximize profits. One of Rockefeller's advisers offered a brilliant strategy in which Standard Oil would create a company in each state it wished to do so (e.g. Standard Oil of New Jersey), and these separate companies would need separate boards of directors.
It wasn't until six years later, in Congressional Anti-Trust hearings, that all that information was made public. Today, the Standard Oil Trust would be classified as a holding company, but at the time it seemed to be an imaginary entity, wielding infinite power but actually unable to do anything specific. The Standard Oil Trust received stock from Standard Oil of Ohio and 40 other companies; Rockefeller held 1/3 of the trust certificates worth $19 million ($470 million in 2015 dollars).
Negotiable securities were created from this arrangement, which meant that many Standard Oil employees would benefit greatly from owning stock, something that Rockefeller encouraged and assisted. By doing so, Rockefeller created a more motivated and closer-knit business culture for Standard Oil, and it also helped that employees received huge capital gains and dividends.
In late-1883, Rockefeller started to assemble real estate holdings in Manhattan on Broadway, basically on property where the home of Alexander Hamilton was located. After spending almost one million dollars, Standard Oil moved into their new opulent building on 26 Broadway, the nine story granite building became the world's most famous business address. The relatively-grim exterior gave way to a dignified-yet-understated interior, which mirrored Rockefeller's personality.
Rockefeller delegated much and presided lightly and genially over his empire, invisibly asserting his will. In meetings, the quieter Rockefeller was, the larger his presence filled the room, which added to his mystique as an industrial genius. Rockefeller valued internal harmony among his chief executives, and often couched his decisions as suggestions or questions. Rockefeller operated by gaining consensus, rarely making outwardly unilateral decisions, which meant few missteps since every contingency had been analyzed. And somehow, Rockefeller accomplished all this despite the incredibly restrictive interstate laws concerning corporations, in that a corporation could only legally exist in one state.
Since Rockefeller never owned more than 1/3 of Standard Oil, he needed the cooperation of other people. Rockefeller understood that he needed to submerge himself in the complex layers of the Standard Oil Trust. The Standard Oil Trust introduced economies-of-scale that were impossible before 1882. Also, the quality of kerosene was improved, by-products were introduced, and costs across-the-board were cut.
Once Rockefeller made a decision on a specific goal, he pursued achieving it with all his skill, patience, and acumen. However, once Rockefeller made that decision, he was impervious and deaf to criticism, much like a rocket that could only keep going higher, never turning back as long as it still had fuel to burn.