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 Pennsyl­vania. But Venango County’s rich history bespeaks vigorous pioneering a spirit...
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The Call of the Clarion

To the eighteenth century French explorers, the river the Indians called Tobeco was Riviere au Fiel – the “River of Hate.” Pioneers know it as Toby or Stump Creek. In 1817 it was christened Clarion by road surveyors Daniel Stanard and David Lawson as they camped along its shores because the river’s clear, shrill sound reminded them of the medieval trumpet. The name of 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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Frederick J. Osterling and a Tale of Two Buildings

There was much to build in a growing industrial city like turn-of-the-century Pittsburgh, and many of the important architectural com­missions went to Frederick J. Osterling, a versatile designer, a respected businessman and a prominent – if occasionally controversial – architect. But when Osterling received that commission of which all archi­tects dream, it resulted in the sudden...
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The ‘State’ of Allegheny

One of the first centers of the organization of the Re­publican party and scene of its first national conven­tion in February, 1856, Allegheny County was strongly for Lincoln in the presidential election of 1860. As the vote count proceeded, one of the leaders kept sending telegrams to Lincoln’s home in Illinois, keeping him up on the news that “Allegheny gives a majority of …...
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The Revolution Affects Pennsylvania Communities

Every county and community in the Commonwealth was in some way involved or connected with the American Revolution and Pennsylvania’s attainment of statehood. Certain places associated with famous events in the struggle for independence come to mind immedi­ately: Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York for civil affairs, and Brandywine, Germantown, Whitemarsh, Valley Forge, and Washington’s...
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Lawrence County

Bart Richards, the unofficial historian of Lawrence County, indicates that little of historical significance has occurred in the county. He points out that it has had no wars, Indian uprisings, or great discoveries to its credit. Very few of its citizens have qualified for the pages of Who’s Who. Therefore, this history is the story of average, ordinary people striving to make a better...
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Butler County: A Story in Diversity

The story of Butler County is one of many stories. It is the story of an unusual religious commune. Of an engineer whose invention made the Brooklyn Bridge a reality. Of a European baron who con­structed a German castle he named Bassenheim. Of an oil boom town which sprang up­ – and crashed nearly overnight. Of the birthplace of that be­loved American automotive institution, the jeep. Of...
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Shorts

Fort Hunter Day, a celebra­tion of autumn, will be hosted on Sunday, September 19 [1993], from 10 A. M. to 5 P. M. by Fort Hunter Mansion and Park. The event, free and open to the public, will feature crafts show and demonstrations, carriage rides, period entertainment, and numerous activities designed especially for children. Also featured throughout the day will be demonstrations of...
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Currents

It’s a Zoo! When the Zoological Society of Philadelphia was organized at the home of Dr. William Camac (its first presi­dent) on March 21, 1859, it was the first of its kind in North America. In spite of its auspicious beginnings, the early years of the Philadelphia Zoo – now touted as “America’s First Zoo”­ – were dampened by the Civil War, which not only...
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