Exploring The Past And The Present In Pennsylvania’s Oil Heritage Region

UncoveringPA –  Jim Cheney, July 8th 2016

Pennsylvania has been home to many world-changing events over the years, from the Declaration of Independence, to the discovery of the polio vaccine, to the creation of the Big Mac. However, you could argue that few, if any, of these had as large an impact as what occurred in northwestern Pennsylvania in late August of 1859.

Oil was known to exist in northwestern Pennsylvania for hundreds of years. Over that time, Native Americans had been collecting oil from seeps in the ground along Oil Creek and passed that knowledge onto settlers to the area. Oil had even been discovered in the drilling of salt water wells. However, prior to the summer of 1859, no one had actually drilled with the purpose of finding oil. That is until Colonel Edwin Drake struck oil on a small parcel of land just south of Titusville, Pennsylvania.

Within days, oil prospectors lined the banks of Oil Creek searching for oil and creating the world’s first oil boom. This oil boom drew tens of thousands of people to the area around Drake’s Well, made many millionaires (and even more destitute), and changed both the world and northwestern Pennsylvania forever.

Today, the Oil Heritage Region works to preserve this world-changing area, and offers a chance to visitors to explore the region’s small towns, museums, and outdoor beauty, each of which offers a unique look at the region’s history.

To read the full article based of UncoveringPA’s travel experience to the region, click here.