Oil City, Pennsylvania
"A Special Blend of People"
Location of Oil City in Venango County, Pennsylvania.
|• Mayor||William P. Moon, Jr.|
|• City Manager||Mark G. Schroyer|
|• Total||4.84 sq mi (12.53 km2)|
|• Land||4.49 sq mi (11.64 km2)|
|• Water||0.34 sq mi (0.89 km2)|
|• Density||2,140.66/sq mi (826.60/km2)|
|Time zone||UTC-5 (Eastern (EST))|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC-4 (EDT)|
|Area code(s)||582 starting May 1, 2021; 814 Exchanges: 208, 271, 428, 493, 516, 657, 670, 671, 673, 676, 677, 678, 758|
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.
Initial settlement of Oil City was sporadic, and tied to the iron industry. After the first oil wells were drilled in 1861, it became central to the petroleum industry while hosting headquarters for the Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Wolf's Head motor oil companies.
Tourism plays a prominent role in the region by promoting oil heritage sites, nature trails, and Victorian architecture. The population was 10,557 at the 2010 census, and it is the principal city of the Oil City, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area.
In 1796, the state of Pennsylvania gave Cornplanter, 1,500 acres (6.1 km2) of land along the west bank of the Allegheny River in Warren County, Pennsylvania, as well as a small tract on both sides of the mouth of Oil Creek, in compensation for his services during the American Revolutionary War. The first white settler in what became Oil City was an unknown individual who cleared and farmed about 400 acres (1.6 km2) on the west side of Oil Creek upstream from Cornplanter's land. Francis Halyday (or Holliday) purchased this land in 1803, and settled there with his family. The first white child known to be born in what became Oil City was James Halyday, born January 13, 1809. Three or four other families soon settled on the east side of the creek above the "Cornplanter Tract". Cornplanter sold the eastern half of his tract to two white settlers, William Connely and William Kinnear, in May 1818. Connely sold his quarter of the original tract back to Cornplanter in October 1818, but the land was seized by the county for nonpayment of taxes and sold at auction in November 1819 to Alexander McCalmont. McCalmont sold his land to Mathias Stockberger in the spring of 1824.chief of the Wolf Band of the Seneca nation,
On June 25, 1824, Kinnear, Stockerberger, and settler Richard Noyes formed William Kinnear & Co., a company which swiftly erected an iron bloomery, foundry, gristmill, and several warehouses.A mill race provided water power for the furnace. Homes were built for workers, and a steamboat landing constructed on the Allegheny River. This settlement was called Oil Creek Furnace. Settler James Young opened the first general store in town, and operated it in the 1850s. The original incorporators were bought out by brothers William and Frederick Crary in January 1825. The company was purchased in February 1835 by William Bell, who changed the corporate name to W. Bell & Son. He and his son, Samuel, operated the furnace until 1849, employing about 40 men. The poor quality of iron ore in the area made their operations unprofitable and the furnace closed in 1849. The settlement was soon deserted, except for two families (the Bannons and the Halydays).
The bend in the Allegheny River at Oil City slowed the speed of the river's waters, providing a spot for barges and rafts to land easily. For many years, the Bannons and Halydays rented rooms in their homes and space in their barns to bargemen and rafters using the landing at Oil Creek Furnace. 1,000 acres (4.0 km2) of the property was sold by the Bell heirs to Graff, Hasson & Company. James Hasson, son William Hasson, and William's family took up residence on the tract and began farming.About 1852 or 1853, Thomas Moran settled in the area and built a large inn (Moran House) next to the Bannon home. It proved popular and soon expanded, and became a local landmark. Samuel Hopewell opened a second inn shortly after Moran, and in the fall 1852 his brother, John P. Hopewell, opened a third inn and a new general store on Main Street. Settler Hiram Gordon opened the Red Lion, the area's first saloon, about the same time Hopewell's store began operation. Located near the mouth of Oil Creek, the saloon provided live entertainment. In June 1856,
Although the village of Oil Creek Furnace was largely deserted, settlement continued in the area. On August 6, 1840, Benjamin Thompson patented nearly all of what is now Oil City east of Oil Creek and north of the Allegheny. This land was quickly subdivided and sold to other settlers. 200 acres (0.81 km2) of land on the south side of the Allegheny River in 1851, and purchased the remainder of Thompson's land on January 3, 1853. Hollis, in turn, sold all his land on April 25 to Henry Bastian.With the death of his mother in 1844, James Halyday sold his land about 1846 to Dr. John Nevins and several other settlers. Nevins was a physician, the first to practice medicine in the area. James Hollis patented
Edwin L. Drake drilled the first commercially successful oil well in nearby Titusville on August 27, 1859.Oil was struck on the Downing farm south of the river by Phillips & Vanusdall in April 1861. Oil City had fewer than six families living there in 1859. The discovery of oil changed that. By 1868, a number of boomtowns had emerged in the region, including Oil City, Petroleum Center, Pithole, Rynd Farm, and Titusville. By 1860, the oil trade was far and away the dominant industry in the Oil City area. A machine shop (which constructed pipe fittings), warehouses, and other industrial structures were built on the west side of Oil Creek. Barges were used to transport oil down Oil Creek and into Oil City, where it was transferred to steamboats or bulk barges to continue on to Pittsburgh and other locations.
In 1859, Nevins sold his property to the Michigan Rock Oil Company, 300 acres (1.2 km2) in 1864. The company subdivided the land into lots and swiftly built homes here. In 1865, Vandergrift, Forman & Company, a petroleum exploration firm, bought the property of a number of settlers around the north landing of Lay's Ferry and established a town the company called Imperial City. West of Laytonia, Charles Lee established a settlement called Leetown.which built Main Avenue, platted an unnamed town around it, and erected a few buildings. On March 26, 1863, Henry Bastian sold his land to William L. Lay. Lay established a ferry near what is now the foot of Central Avenue. Lay platted a town of 80 lots near his ferry's landing on the south shore, and named the town Laytonia (sometimes referred to as "Laytona" or "Latona"). The same year, Charles Haines and Joseph Martin bought out the Hassons (who had continued to farm their land), and graded Grove Avenue. The two built a number of homes along the street, calling their settlement Cottage Hill. The United Petroleum Farms Association purchased part of Cottage Hill as well as an adjoining
In 1862, residents in the area obtained a charter from the state, uniting the area north of the river as a borough named Oil City.South of the river, in particular, growth continued to be haphazard. Streets there often did not match up, hindering transportation. Residents realized that there were too many names in use for this area, which was causing problems. In 1866, the citizens of the borough south of the river petitioned Judge William G. Trunkey to give their borough a common name. He selected Venango City. By 1866, Venango City had a population of more than 1,500, and more than 4,500 people lived in Oil City.
Oil City began platting extensive areas of land between 1869 and 1872. This included the upper and lower south side, Palace Hill, upper Cottage Hill and Clark's Summit. 1,600-foot (490 m) long funicular ascended the 460-foot (140 m) high hill. Built in 1872, the Panic of 1873 devastated home sales on Clark's Summit. The funicular company went bankrupt, and the track was removed in 1879.A
By 1870, residents of Oil City and Venango City desired unification of their joint, growing metropolis. They sought a town charter from the state, which was granted by the legislature on March 3, 1871.Oil City was the name of the unified boroughs. The first Oil City elections were held in April, and the first mayor, William M. Williams, and 12-member city council sworn in on April 11, completing the act of incorporation. Oil City replaced her charter with a new one in January 1881 after the state implemented a new township charter law. A city hall was erected later that year on Seneca Street.
The city was partially destroyed by flood in 1865 and by both flood and fire in 1866 and again in 1892; on this last occasion, several oil tanks that were struck by lightning gave way, and Oil Creek carried a mass of burning oil into the city, where some 60 lives were lost and property valued at more than $1 million was destroyed. Oil City grew into a thriving community through the later half of the 19th century and into the 20th century. By the 1990s, Pennzoil, Quaker State, and Wolf's Head had all relocated their headquarters elsewhere. However, some oil wells continue to produce a steady supply of quality petroleum.
Regional governments and public organizations promote tourism by thoroughly educating the public about oil history. Oil City's location along the Allegheny River in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains provides excellent opportunities for exploring Northwestern Pennsylvania.
The Oil City Downtown Commercial Historic District, Oil City North Side Historic District, Oil City South Side Historic District, National Transit Building, and Oil City Armory are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Oil City, Pennsylvania is located at the confluence of the Allegheny River and Oil Creek at 4.7 square miles (12 km2), of which, 4.5 square miles (12 km2) is land and 0.2 square miles (0.52 km2) (4.65%) is water.. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of
Many layers of rock and sedimentary material containing fossils can be seen on the bluffs in and around Oil City. Oil City is framed by the surrounding foothills with the Allegheny River winding through downtown.
The Allegheny River and Oil Creek freeze occasionally during the winter, sometimes causing ice jams; although remediation by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers has reduced ice formation via a floating ice control structure on the river and a fixed concrete weir on the banks of the creek.Flooding of the river flats is a possibility throughout the year due to ice jams, excessive snow melt, large volume storms and hurricane or tropical storm remnants.
As of the censusof 2018, there were 9,749 people, 4,192 households, and 2,614 families residing in the city. The population density was 2,548.4 people per square mile (984.9/km2). There were 5,289 housing units at an average density of 1,168.8 per square mile (451.7/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 94.3% White, 0.9% African American, 0.10% Native American, 0.4% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 0.11% from other races, and 0.57% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 0.63% of the population.
There were 4,192 households, out of which 30.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 44.8% were married couples living together, 12.7% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.4% were non-families. 32.7% of all households were made up of individuals, and 16.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.99.
In the city, the population was spread out, with 25.8% under the age of 18, 7.9% from 18 to 24, 27.2% from 25 to 44, 21.6% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females, there were 90.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $29,060, and the median income for a family was $42,839. Males had a median income of $30,072 versus $19,697 for females. The per capita income for the city was $14,696. About 16.2% of families and 19.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.3% of those under age 18 and 12.4% of those age 65 or over.
WKQW 1120 AM and 96.3 FM are Venango County's only locally owned and programmed full-service radio stations.
The Oil City Oilers were a Minor League Baseball team located in Oil City, Pennsylvania between 1940 and 1951. The team played in the Pennsylvania State Association from 1940 to 1942, and later moved to the Middle Atlantic League after World War II ended. The team began in 1940 when the Pittsburgh Pirates relocated their affiliate, the McKeesport Little Braves, to Oil City. The team stayed affiliated with the Pirates until 1947, when it began an affiliation with the Chicago White Sox. That year, the team's name was changed to the Oil City Refiners. The team's name was changed one last time to the Oil City A's, when they merged with the Youngstown A's, in 1951. The team then folded, along with the league, at the end of that season.
The Oilers name originated from an earlier team that represented the city between 1895 and 1907, in the Iron And Oil League and the Interstate League.
The Allegheny River is a 325-mile (523 km) long headwater stream of the Ohio River in western Pennsylvania and New York, United States. The Allegheny River runs from its headwaters just below the middle of Pennsylvania's northern border northwesterly into New York then in a zigzag southwesterly across the border and through Western Pennsylvania to join the Monongahela River at the Forks of the Ohio on the "Point" of Point State Park in Downtown Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The Allegheny River is, by volume, the main headstream of both the Ohio and Mississippi Rivers. Historically, the Allegheny was considered to be the upper Ohio River by both Native Americans and European settlers.
Armstrong County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 68,941. The county seat is Kittanning. The county was organized on March 12, 1800, from parts of Allegheny, Westmoreland and Lycoming Counties. It was named in honor of John Armstrong, who represented Pennsylvania in the Continental Congress and served as a major general during the Revolutionary War.
Warren County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 41,815. Its county seat is Warren. The county was formed in 1800 from parts of Allegheny and Lycoming counties; attached to Crawford County until 1805 and then to Venango County until Warren was formally organized in 1819.
Venango County is a county located in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 54,984. Its county seat is Franklin. The county was created in 1800 and later organized in 1805.
Butler County is a county in the western part of the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. As of the 2010 census, the population was 183,862. Its county seat is Butler. Butler County was created on March 12, 1800, from part of Allegheny County and named in honor of General Richard Butler, a hero of the American Revolution.
Oil Creek Township is a township in Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,376 at the 2017 census. part of Titusville Area Population
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.
Cornplanter Township is a township in Venango County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 2,687 at the 2000 census.
Hasson Heights is a census-designated place (CDP) in Venango County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 1,351 at the 2010 census.
Warren is a city in Warren County, Pennsylvania, United States, located along the Allegheny River. The population was 9,710 at the 2010 census. It is the county seat of Warren County. It is home to the headquarters of the Allegheny National Forest and the Cornplanter State Forest. It is also the headquarters for the Chief Cornplanter Council, the oldest continuously chartered Boy Scouts of America Council, and the catalog company Blair. Warren is the principal city of the Warren, PA Micropolitan Statistical Area.
Oil Springs Reservation or Oil Spring Reservation is an Indian reservation of the federally recognized Seneca Nation that is located in southwestern New York, United States. As of the 2010 census, the Indian reservation had one resident; in 2005 no tribal members had lived on the property. The reservation covers about one square mile (2.6 km2), divided between the present-day counties of Allegany and Cattaraugus. The reservation is northwest of the village of Cuba. It is bordered by the Town of Cuba and the Town of Ischua.
French Creek is a tributary of the Allegheny River in northwestern Pennsylvania and western New York in the United States.
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.
Oil Creek is a 46.7-mile (75.2 km) tributary of the Allegheny River in Venango and Crawford counties in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It has a drainage area of 319 square miles (830 km2) and joins the Allegheny at Oil City. Attractions along the river include the Drake Well Museum and Oil Creek State Park. The stream was named after the oil that was found along its banks before the historic oil strike by Edwin Drake in Titusville, which Oil Creek flows through. Oil Creek is popular with canoeists and fishers. The creek is rated as a beginners creek for those interested in learning how to safely use canoes and kayaks. Oil Creek is a cold water fishery with bass and trout living in its waters.
The French Creek Council serves Boy Scouts in six counties in northwestern Pennsylvania and one township in Ohio. The council was organized in 1972 from a merger of the former Washington Trail Council of Erie, Custaloga Council of Sharon and Colonel Drake Council of Oil City, Pennsylvania. It has headquarters in Erie, Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania Route 428 is a 19-mile-long (31 km) state highway located in Venango and Crawford counties in Pennsylvania. The southern terminus is at U.S. Route 62 (US 62) and PA 8 in Oil City. The northern terminus is at PA 408 in Troy Township.
Cornplanter may refer to:
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 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.
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