Replica Drake Well engine house and derrick
|Location||202 Museum Lane|
The Drake Well Museum and Park is a museum that interprets the birth of the American oil industry in 1859 by "Colonel" Edwin Drake along the banks of Oil Creek in Cherrytree Township, Venango County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The museum collects and preserves related artifacts. The reconstructed Drake Well demonstrates the first practical use of salt drilling techniques for the extraction of petroleum through an oil well. A historic site, the museum is located in Cherrytree Township, 3 miles (4.8 km) south of Titusville on Drake Well Road, situated between Pennsylvania Routes 8 and 27. The museum is accredited by the American Alliance of Museums.
The site features a reconstruction of the oil well drilled by "Colonel" Edwin Drake and working oil field equipment. The museum includes indoor and outdoor exhibits and houses a library of over 2,500 titles, over 1,000 cubic feet (28 m3) of manuscript material and a photographic collection with over 10,800 images. Programs include the Fall Gas-Up engine show, a spring Heritage Lecture Series, Heritage School Tours, and the Nitroglycerine Show. Visitor services include orientation film, guided tours, a museum store and more.
Nearby attractions are Oil Creek State Park and the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad.
The State of Pennsylvania has spent US$8 million for renovation of the museum. The new permanent exhibit "There's a Drop of Oil and Gas in Your Life Everyday" features over 530 artifacts, many historic images and stories about the birth and growth of the oil and gas industries. Interactive exhibits include a discussion between John D. Rockefeller and Ida Tarbell, author of The History of Standard Oil.
Drake Well Museum and Park is administered by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission (PHMC) and the Friends of Drake Well, Inc.It was formerly a Pennsylvania state park, but was transferred to the PHMC.
Oil was known to exist in the Oil Creek Valley of northwestern Pennsylvania, but there was no practical way to extract it. Its main use to that time had been as a medicine for animals, humans and the early development of kerosene. In the late 1850s Seneca Oil Company (formerly the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company) sent its manager, Colonel Edwin L. Drake, to develop a way to produce more ‘Lumber was the principal industry at the time, with at least 17 sawmills in the area. The land was chosen because for hundreds of years Native Americans skimmed surface oil from the water near a naturally occurring ‘Oil seep’. (Even today Oil Creek still has some natural seeps). Drake tried many ways to access and skim more oil. Eventually he attempted to dig a deep hole by hand. When a hole collapse nearly killed his men, Drake attempted drilling. He was told by local water well drillers that “You cannot drill for Rock Oil”. Drake had to travel to New Kensington, PA, (over 90 miles away), to find and hire a salt well driller, William A. Smith, in the summer of 1859. After many difficulties, they finally drilled a commercially successful well on August 27. Considered the birth of the oil industry, it was an event that changed the world.
Teamsters transported the oil to barges, which were filled and sent down Oil Creek to Oil City on the Allegheny River. There the oil was transferred to steamships and sent to Pittsburgh. In 1862, transportation switched to rail with the completion of the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad between Titusville and Corry, where freight could be transferred to other, larger, east-west rail lines. In 1865, pipelines were laid directly next to the rail line and the demand for teamsters practically ended. The next year the railroad line was extended south to Petroleum Centre and Oil City. The Union City and Titusville Railroad was built in 1865, which became part of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad in 1871. That fall President Ulysses S. Grant visited Titusville to view the booming oil industry. The first pipeline was built in 1862 and by the late 1860s, pipelines crisscrossed the oil region.
Other oil-related businesses quickly were built in the area. Eight refineries were built between 1862 and 1868 in the Titusville area alone. Drilling tools were needed and several iron works were built. Titusville grew from 250 residents to 10,000 almost overnight and in 1866 it incorporated as a city. The first oil millionaire, a resident of Titusville, was Jonathan Watson who owned the land where Drake's well was drilled. The same land is now part of Oil Creek State Park and the Drake Well Museum.
Fire was always a concern around oil and one of the worst fires was on June 11, 1880. What came to be known as "Black Friday" happened when almost 300,000 barrels (48,000 m3) of oil burned after an oil tank was hit by lightning. The fire raged for three days until it finally was brought under control. Although the oil was valued at $2 million, there was no loss of life. Another fire occurred on June 5, 1892, when Oil Creek flooded and a tank of benzine overturned. The benzine ignited and in the ensuing explosions 60 men, women, and children died. Another lightning strike in 1894 resulted in 27,000 barrels (4,300 m3) lost in a fire. Oil production peaked the late 1880s and has declined greatly since, although they use other oil to pump for demonstration.
The history of the petroleum industry in the United States goes back to the early 19th century, although the indigenous peoples, like many ancient societies, have used petroleum seeps since prehistoric times; where found, these seeps signaled the growth of the industry from the earliest discoveries to the more recent.
Titusville is a city in the far east corner of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 5,601 at the 2010 census and an estimated 5,158 in 2019. Titusville is known as the birthplace of the American oil industry and for a number of years was the leading oil-producing region in the world. Titusville was notable for its lumber industry, including 17 sawmills, as well as its plastic and toolmaking industries.
Oil City is a city in Venango County, Pennsylvania known for its prominence in the initial exploration and development of the petroleum industry. It is located at a bend in the Allegheny River at the mouth of Oil Creek.
Edwin Laurentine Drake, also known as Colonel Drake, was an American businessman and the first American to successfully drill for oil.
The petroleum industry, also known as the oil industry or the oil patch, includes the global processes of exploration, extraction, refining, transporting, and marketing of petroleum products. The largest volume products of the industry are fuel oil and gasoline (petrol). Petroleum is also the raw material for many chemical products, including pharmaceuticals, solvents, fertilizers, pesticides, synthetic fragrances, and plastics. The extreme monetary value of oil and its products has led to it being known as "black gold". The industry is usually divided into three major components: upstream, midstream, and downstream. Upstream deals with Drilling and Production mainly.
Burning Springs is an unincorporated community in Wirt County, West Virginia, United States. It takes its name from the natural gas which bubbled up through the spring and would burn when lit.
Pithole, or Pithole City, is a ghost town in Cornplanter Township, Venango County in Pennsylvania, about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Oil Creek State Park and the Drake Well Museum, the site of the first commercial oil well in the United States. Pithole's sudden growth and equally rapid decline, as well as its status as a "proving ground" of sorts for the burgeoning petroleum industry, made it one of the most famous of oil boomtowns.
Oil Creek State Park is a Pennsylvania state park on 6,250 acres (2,529 ha) in Cherrytree, Cornplanter and Oil Creek Townships, Venango County, Pennsylvania in the United States. The park is adjacent to Drake Well Museum, the site of the first successful commercial oil well in the United States, that was drilled under the direction of Colonel Edwin Drake. Oil Creek State Park follows Oil Creek, between Titusville and Oil City, and is on Pennsylvania Route 8. While the creek is the park's main recreational attraction, it also contains the sites of the first oil boomtown and much of Pennsylvania's original oil industry. The park contains a museum, tableaux, and trails to help visitors understand the history of the oil industry there, and an excursion train.
A wildcatter is an individual who drills wildcat wells, which are exploration oil wells drilled in areas not known to be oil fields. Notable wildcatters include Glenn McCarthy, Thomas Baker Slick Sr., Mike Benedum, Joe Trees, Clem S. Clarke, and Columbus Marion Joiner; the last is responsible for finding the East Texas Oil Field in 1930.
The Canadian petroleum industry arose in parallel with that of the United States. Because of Canada's unique geography, geology, resources and patterns of settlement, however, it developed in different ways. The evolution of the petroleum sector has been a key factor in the history of Canada, and helps illustrate how the country became quite distinct from her neighbour to the south.
The petroleum industry is not of recent origin, but petroleum's current status as a key component of politics, society, and technology has its roots in the early 20th century. The invention of the internal combustion engine was the major influence in the rise in the importance of petroleum.
Petroleum Center is a populated place and ghost town in Cornplanter Township, Venango County, Pennsylvania, United States. In the 19th century the name was also spelled "Petroleum Centre". The town today is almost deserted.
The oil rush in America started in Titusville, Pennsylvania, in the Oil Creek Valley when Edwin L. Drake struck "rock oil" there in 1859. Titusville and other towns on the shores of Oil Creek expanded rapidly as oil wells and refineries shot up across the region. Oil quickly became one of the most valuable commodities in the United States and railroads expanded into Western Pennsylvania to ship petroleum to the rest of the country.
The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad is a tourist railroad that runs from Titusville to Rynd Farm north of Oil City in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. The Oil Creek and Titusville Lines is the designated operator of the railroad, as well as the freight carrier on the line.
The Jersey Bridge is a one-lane, Pratt through truss bridge that spans Oil Creek in Cherrytree Township, Venango County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It connects the city of Titusville to the Drake Well Museum and Oil Creek State Park. The bridge was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1988. It was replaced in 1998 with a newer bridge that used the superstructure of the old bridge.
The Drake Well is a 69.5-foot-deep (21.2 m) oil well in Cherrytree Township, Venango County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania, the success of which sparked the first oil boom in the United States. The well is the centerpiece of the Drake Well Museum located 3 miles (5 km) south of Titusville.
The Washington oil field is an oil field and in Washington County, Pennsylvania. It also produced natural gas.
The Pithole Valley Railway was an ephemeral short line railroad in Venango County, Pennsylvania, constructed as a result of the Pennsylvania oil rush. The railroad was originally constructed in 1865 between Oil City, Pennsylvania, a local oil transportation hub, and the boomtown of Pithole, Pennsylvania. Constructed under the charter of the Clarion Land and Improvement Company, it was informally known as the Oil City and Pithole Branch Railroad. Although it was generally supported by the broad gauge Atlantic and Great Western Railway, it was built to standard gauge. Conflict with the Warren and Franklin Railway over the right-of-way along the Allegheny River led to a lawsuit which, in 1866, declared that the Oil City and Pithole had no right to operate along the river from Oleopolis, Pennsylvania to Oil City. That part of the line was sold to the Warren and Franklin, leaving the Oil City and Pithole with a 7-mile (10 km) line running north from Oleopolis to Pithole along Pithole Creek.
The Titusville Herald is a five-day morning daily newspaper published in Titusville, Pennsylvania, which covers news in Crawford County. Founded on June 14,1865, it is the oldest daily newspaper in the Pennsylvania Oil Region.