The year is 1859. The place was in the rolling hills of northwestern Pennsylvania. A man by the name of Edwin Drake made a discovery, a discovery that would change the world. It was here where oil was discovered, and the oil industry began. The region was booming with industry. Many towns sprung up along Oil Creek. How were these towns connected? They were connected by the railroad. In time, the oil industry in the region when into decline, and the region followed. The railroad line was abandoned.
Now it is today. You come to the town of Titusville, Pennsylvania. You go to the Perry Street Station, an old freight depot that is now the depot for the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad. As you enter, you walk over to purchase your ticket. Then you walk around and see some of the artifacts collected over the years. Of course, you did not come here to see the old artifacts. You came here to ride the train.
Well, the time has come. You board the train. The train slowly pulls away from the Perry Street Station. You slowly leave the town, and you are surrounded by woods.
But you are not surrounded by woods.
The woods that are surrounding you were once towns that were built up by the oil industry. You pass by Drake Well State Park, the very site where Edwin Drake discovered oil. From there, you ride along crossing Oil Creek numerous times passing by ruined sites. You then come upon Petroleum Centre, the site of many trees. Wait! There was a hotel where those trees are. It was the site of what was once a refinery, but it is now part of Oil Creek State Park. From there, you continue along until you reach the home of ‘Coal Oil Johnny’. (His real name was Culbertson McClintock. The home is not in its original site but was relocated here to be spared from demolition.) This is the end of the line, and you have to head back to Titusville.
The Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad is part of the Pennsylvania Oil Heritage Region. It is located at 409 S. Perry Street in Titusville, Pennsylvania just blocks from Pennsylvania Routes 8, 27 and 89. You can go to www.octrr.org to learn more about the railroad and to check out their special events. You can also book a night in the Caboose Motel which is next to the station.
While in Titusville, you can take a short drive to Drake Well State Park and see how the industry came about. You can go into the museum and see the exhibit on how the railroad was a major part of the early oil industry.
Need a place to take a vacation? Go to Pennsylvania Oil Heritage Region in the ‘Valley that Changed the World’. Visit the Drake Well State Park. Most important of all, ride the Oil Creek and Titusville Railroad.