The Valley That Changed the World: Visiting the Drake Well Museum

“They’ve struck oil!” They were only three words, but they thundered triumphantly throughout the valley along northwestern Pennsylvania’s Oil Creek during the days following the long-anticipated breakthrough – one that would change the world forever – on an otherwise quiet Saturday in August 1859. To many it was a miracle, one on which great fortunes would be...
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Survival of an American Boom Town

No stirring debates reverberate through the chambers of Philadelphia’s Independence Hall; white-hot molten steel no longer pours out of the fiery cauldrons in the sprawling mills of Pittsburgh and Bethlehem; and little coal ripped from the earth by giant steam shovels in Carbon, Schuylkill, Luzerne, and Lackawanna Counties in the Keystone State’s anthracite region. As surprising as...
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Pennsylvania Heritage Society Newsletter

Topics in the Spring 2008 Newsletter: Signature Series: Walter Licht and Tom Dublin PHS and PHMC to Lead Civil War Project Signature Series Tour: Gettysburg Calendar for April – June 2008 More Support for Conservation Heritage Initiative State Archives Funding PHS Annual Appeal Support in the Field Welcome New PHS Members New Member Benefit  ...
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From the Editor

Learning about energy – its history, its present-day uses, and its future – has never been easier. For years, Pennsylvania has been a leading supplier of traditional energy sources – water, wind, anthracite and bituminous coal, oil, and lumber – and many of PHMC’s historic sites and museums, among them Drake Well Museum at Titusville and the Pennsylvania Anthracite...
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Barbara T. Zolli on “A Drop of Oil”

Crude oil, found in abundance in northwestern Pennsylvania, held out many possibilities by the mid-nineteenth century. It burned when ignited, served as a practical lubricant, was thought to have medicinal properties, and had been used for various purposes by generations of Native Americans. That it might be in ample supply became apparent to many locals when it oozed from the ground and...
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From the Editor

Looking for ways to spend an educational, entertaining, and thoroughly enjoyable summer day with family and friends? Look no further. As Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) staff members Howard M. Pollman and Michael A. Bertheaud explain in their article entitled “Exploring the Pennsylvania Energy Trail of History” in this edition, there’s plenty to see and do...
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The Shooting Stars of Drake Well

Much like other important industries in the Commonwealth – coal, iron, steel, timber, and railroading – the production of oil in northwestern Pennsylvania was fraught with danger. Among the perils petroleum speculators and drillers faced were fires, explosions, and fatal jams while shipping crude oil to market on waterways. One of the most dangerous tasks in extruding oil from the...
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Bring on the Next 150 Years!

Throughout 2009, the staff and volunteers of Drake Well Museum in Titusville, Venango County, administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC), were involved in the celebration of the 150th anniversary of the world’s first successful well drilled for oil. Programs, parades, and events were carried out in conjunction with Oil 150!, a collaborative effort throughout...
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