ANSWERS: 1
  • Titusville's history is almost all about oil. The name was derived from Jonathan Titus who was the first settler, coming to this lush valley in Crawford County, PACrawford County in 1796. Within 14 years others bought and improved the land near him. A village grew that he named Edinburg(h), although local usage referred to the little hamlet as Titusville. The village was incorporated as a borough in 1847. Titusville was a slow-growing and peaceful community, lying along the banks of Oil Creek until the 1850s. Lumber was the principal industry with at least 17 sawmills in the area. Oil was known to exist here, but there was no practical way to extract it. Generally, its main use to that time had been as a medicine for both animals and humans. In the late 1850s Seneca Oil Company (formerly the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company) sent Col. Edwin L. Drake, to start drilling on a piece of leased land just south of Titusville near what is now Oil Creek State Park. Drake hired a salt well driller, William A. Smith, in the summer of 1859. They had many difficulties, but on August 27 at the site of an oil spring just south of Titusville, they finally drilled a well that could be commercially successful. It truly was an event that changed the world, beginning with all the surrounding vicinity. Teamsters were needed immediately to transport the oil to markets. Transporting methods improved and in 1862 the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad was built between Titusville and Corry, PennsylvaniaCorry where it was transferred to other, larger, east-west lines. In 1865 pipelines were laid directly 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 & Titusville Railroad was built in 1865, which became part of the Philadelphia & Erie Railroad in 1871. That fall President U. S. Grant visited Titusville to view this important region. Other oil-related businesses quickly exploded on the scene. Eight refineries were built between 1862 and 1868. 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. In 1881 the first oil exchange in the United States was established here. The first oil millionaire, a resident of Titusville, was Jonathan Watson who owned the land where Drake's well was drilled. He had been a partner in a lumber business prior to the success of the Drake well. At one time it was said that Titusville had more millionaires per 1,000 population than anywhere else in the world. One resident of note was Franklin S. Tarbell whose large Italianate home still stands. He first moved a few miles south in Venango County and established a wooden stock tank business. About 10 miles southeast of Titusville was another oil boom city, Pithole. Oil was discovered in a rolling meadow there in January 1865 and by September 1865 the population was 15,000. But the oil soon ran dry and within four years the city was nearly deserted. Tarbell moved to Titusville in 1870. His daughter, Ida M. TarbellIda Minerva Tarbell, grew up amidst the sounds and smells of the oil industry. She became an accomplished writer and wrote a series of articles about the business practices of the Standard Oil Company and its president, John D. Rockefeller, which sparked legislative action in Congress concerning monopolies. Fire was always a fearful concern around oil and one of the worst was on June 11, 1880. It came to be known as "Black Friday," when almost 300,000 barrels 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 lost in a fire. Oil production in Pennsylvania peaked in 1891 which was when other industries arose in Titusville. The iron and steel industries dominated the town in the early twentieth century with lumber eventually returning as its major industry. Oil is still a force, however. Charter Plastics Company is now located in a building that once manufactured pressure vessels, stationery engines and boilers for the oil industry. Today's product is made from oil. Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Titusville%2C_Pennsylvania

Copyright 2020, Wired Ivy, LLC

Answerbag | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy