McKean County: Where the Gold is Green

The great gold and silver rushes of the late nineteenth century to places such as the Black Hills, Colorado, Arizona, California and Alaska have long been hailed in story and song for their excite¬≠ment, riches and heartbreak. But, the rush for “green gold” to McKean County during the same century was equally or more exciting. First, there were the forests – immense forests of...
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The Last Frontier: Venango County Indians, Oil, Ghost Towns

Venango County. Its name is derivation of a the Seneca Indian word earliest for explorers “French and Creek.” Its earliest explorers and settlers were the French, shortly followed by the English. At one time, the territory was claimed simultaneously by France, and the colonies of Virginia and Pennsyl¬≠vania. But Venango County’s rich history bespeaks vigorous pioneering a spirit...
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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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McClintock Well No. 1 at Drake Well Museum

McClintock Well Number 1 – the world’s oldest continuously producing oil well – was recently acquired by the Drake Well Museum in Titusville, Venango County. Drilled near Oil Creek in August 1861, the well produced fifty barrels of oil a day. The Quaker State Oil Corporation purchased the McClintock Well in 1952 and nominated it for the nearby state historical marker four years...
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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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Oldest Producing Oil Well

Commercial petroleum production began in 1859 with Edwin L. Drake’s well at Titusville, Venango County, but the well failed after only two years of operation. In McClintock, two miles north of Oil City, however, the world’s oldest producing well continues to yield oil. The McClintock Number 1 in Cornplanter Township began pumping crude in 1861, the same year the Drake Well went dry....
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