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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Horses

Horses

Oil City’s early history featured a favorite four-legged critter – horses. As the city prospered in a roaring economy fueled by the oil and gas industry, local residents boasted fancy horse-drawn carriages. Liveries and blacksmith shops were nestled into neighborhoods throughout the city. There was another dimension, too – horse racing. At the close of the 19th Century, Oil City boasted three elaborate race tracks. The first one, built soon

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Parochial Schools

Parochial Schools

Catholic education has a long history in Oil City as a result of efforts undertaken by hundreds of parishioners from five Catholic churches. Enrollment in Catholic schools within the city hit its zenith in 1959 when nearly one-fourth of the school age population within the Oil City School District was enrolled in the parochial schools. St. Joseph The very first Catholic school was organized two years before the City of

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Peaches & Parking Meters

Peaches & Parking Meters

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? The corner of Elm and Center streets in Oil City’s North Side business district has been the site of a dry goods/home furnishing store for more

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State Street Bridge

State Street Bridge

Efforts to build the first bridge across the Allegheny River at Oil City began in 1863 as more families settled on both sides of the river and commercial trade ranging from iron furnace materials to livestock quickly grew. In the river settlement’s earlier years, travel across the waterway for people as well as goods was done via Native American canoes and settlers’ skiffs. When the Bell Iron Furnace at the

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Oil City Trains

Oil City Trains

For decades, Oil City was a railroad hub for both freight trains and passenger trains. The rail service was essential to transport petroleum products, timber, coal, household goods, steel, iron, livestock, food and produce, and much more to and from the thriving city. Passenger service was provided by more than half a dozen major rail lines that had Oil City as a prime stopping spot enroute to Chicago, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh,

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All-America City

All-America City

The City of Oil City enjoyed a time of unprecedented growth and incredibly good fortune for most of its early history. Known as the Hub of Oildom, the community luxuriated in its prosperity brought on by an expansive class of wealthy residents, a sizzling business economy, an expanding population and a top-tier cultural atmosphere. And then, it changed. That change came after World War II as men and women who

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