Pithole City: Boom Town Turned Ghost Town, An Interview with James B. Stevenson

One hundred and twenty-five years ago this summer, the placid calm of northwestern Pennsylvania’s sparsely populated but panoramic vista was ruptured when “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake’s well coughed up rich, black crude oil on August 28, 1859. The following boom years of the oil industry gave rise to numerous towns and cities, some of which were short-lived ghost towns. The...
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Almost on the Right Track: The Densmore Tank Car

The successful drilling for petroleum in northwestern Pennsyl­vania exploded a speculative excitement on a national level not seen since the California Gold Rush a decade earlier. “Colonel” Edwin L. Drake’s modest well at Titusville stirred an oil fever that attracted shrewd fortune seekers, sharp traders and adventurers from all areas of the country. They began to assemble not...
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A Salute to the Bicentennial of the Keystone State

The current Bicentennial celebration commemorates not the birth of the United States, but the proclama­tion of thirteen British-American colonies that were “free and independent states” as of July 4, 17.76. When they formed a loose compact in 1761, their articles of confederation declared that “each state retains its sover­eignty, freedom and independence.” The...
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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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