Lost and Found features brief profiles of historic landmarks and structures, one lost and one saved.

Lost

Solomon R. Dresser (1842-1911), who amassed a for­tune in the oil industry, built his palatial residence, Belleview Terrace, in Bradford, McKean County, in 1903 after being entranced by the Michigan Building at the 1901 Pan American Exposition in Buffalo, New York. Many Bradford residents who grew wealthy during the oil boom years erected huge houses (see “Survival of An American Boom Town” by Gregory DL Morris in the summer 2005 issue). After Dresser’s death, family members maintained the home until 1957, when they donated it for use as the Dresser Memorial Presbyterian Home for the Aged. In 1986, the mansion – cited by residents as “our greatest example of the wealth that oil could bring” – was de­stroyed by fire. The building’s twenty-eight rooms included a ball­room lavishly decorated with fine furnishings imported from France.

 

Found

Once home to several of the oil region’s most prosperous entrepreneurs, the 1871 Second Empire-style residence in Titusville, Crawford County, was built by John C. Bryan. Refinery owner John D. Archbold purchased the mansion in 1872 and the following year joined the ranks of John D. Rocke­feller’s monolithic Standard Oil Company. Archbold moved to New York and sold the property to oil producer John J. Carter, who had drilled his first well in 1868 in Pleasantville, Venango County. In the late 1920s, Louis C. McKinney acquired and extensively renovated the twenty-five room residence. His daughter Charlotte McKinney Haskins donated it in 1963 to establish the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville. Even though heavily remodeled, the mansion is an imposing sight­ – and site – on campus.