Maybe She’s Born With It

Maybe She’s Born With It

Oil City’s unique history can come out in bits and pieces. The community can claim one-of-a-kinds, distinguished public servants, music accolades and a wide assortment of the ‘Did You Know?’ categories. Here’s a quick sampling of our ‘Did You Know?’ heritage: Did You Know? Two sports-related items in the Aug. 23, 1888, edition of the Oil City Weekly Derrick newspaper are eye-catchers. One item told of Col. Louis Rogers Browning,

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Second Presbyterian Church

Second Presbyterian Church

A Milestone in 2022 Second Presbyterian Church, one of Oil City’s most imposing churches, marked its 150th anniversary in 2022. Organized on Jan. 13, 1866, with 29 charter members, church members met in a rented hall at the corner of Front Street and Central Avenue. There was some discussion that the new church should merge with the First Presbyterian Church that was organized five years earlier. However, that effort stalled

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Say Cheese

Say Cheese

The Oil Valley was awash with investors, speculators, shopkeepers, teamsters, drillers, producers and an array of others keen on making their fortunes in the roaring oil boom of the 1860s. The rush of men, women and families to the western Pennsylvania oil fields drew another profession to the region – photographers. The camera-wielding men found their talents were in great demand to record how the industry fared, who made lots

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South Side: 50’s & 60’s

South Side: 50’s & 60’s

Oil City’s South Side business district encompassed a four-square-block area that was filled with a wide variety of shops, services and more in the booming 1950s and 1960s. In those decades, people could buy almost anything they needed – from a black-and-white television set to an insurance policy, a 12-cent comic book, a refrigerator, a box of homemade chocolates, furniture, a bag of nails, vanilla Coke, a diamond ring, a

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The Oil Exchange & National Transit

The Oil Exchange & National Transit

Two of Oil City’s most imposing and unique buildings once stood opposite each other in the city’s North Side business district. The towering structures – the Oil City Oil Exchange and the National Transit Building – were a testament to the city’s immense wealth created by the early oil industry. The two enterprises gave considerable heft to the city’s claim as the Hub of Oil for the entire nation. The

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Luxurious Residences

Luxurious Residences

For many years, Oil City was replete with hundreds of ornate residences scattered throughout the city’s numerous neighborhoods. Many of those imposing homes, built from the 1880s to the early 1900s, remain and have been modernized while still retaining their heritage. The architectural styles were varied with nearly all houses boasting large porches, full windows, two-story columns, gables, artistic filigree accents, towering chimneys and much more. The gracious and spacious

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The Glass Industry

The Glass Industry

Oil and gas fueled Oil City’s early economy. The extraction, production and refining processes prompted an array of other industries such as those that specialized in drilling equipment, pumps, barrels and much more. There was another business, though, that helped prime the city’s economic fortunes and that was the glass industry. It was a big time enterprise from the 1930s through the mid-1980s when hundreds of local residents worked in

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Notable Women

Notable Women

Oil City’s lively culture and hefty wealth in its heyday encouraged local residents to explore new occupations and civic endeavors. Women played a major role in the history of the community and many took on leading roles in a time when ladies were expected to raise families, maintain their homes and lead community projects outside of the hurly-burly business world. Here’s a look at some of those outstanding Oil City

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Oil City Boat Club

Oil City Boat Club

Financial success and a keen interest in finding a recreational outlet prompted a group of Oil City men to organize a social club that has flourished for more than a century. In June 1887, a dozen Oil City businessmen met to discuss the creation of an organization focused on boating and other waterway activities. It was prompted by National Transit employees D.K. James, J.E. Robinson and H.L. Case who stored

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Early Theaters

Early Theaters

Oil City boasted several theaters in its early history. Patrons could enjoy a wide variety of vaudeville acts, musical performances and moving pictures in a prosperous community that touted its cultural offerings. The theater spaces ranged from leased floors in a few buildings along Seneca Street to cavernous auditoriums replete with ornate decorations and state-of-the-art theater effects. Taking top billings as theaters were two opulent, elegant and fully outfitted movie

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