Historical Markers
Pithole City Historical Marker
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Pithole City

Lake Erie Region


Marker Location:
At site on SR 1006

Dedication Date:
July 26, 1986

Behind the Marker

With the discovery of oil and a market for its use, the oil industry grew rapidly. Part of its rapid expansion involved land acquisition, particularly in Pithole City.

Pithole's main street, Holmden Street, very quickly became a main commercial thoroughfare. Merchants and investors were so certain of the town's permanence that they aggressively competed for choice building sites. Building lots continuously and repeatedly changed hands, as prices skyrocketed, often multiplying by four or five times the original price after only two weeks. It was a boomtown, however, not a long-term community.
A photograph of a row of storefronts along a dirt road, the first five of which appear to be empty.
A photograph of a row of storefronts along a dirt road, the first five of which...

Anyone dreaming of Pithole's permanence learned quickly that such ideas were far off the mark. First, pipelines carried away the jobs of most teamsters. Then the supply of oil began to dry up. From December 1865 through January 1866, Pithole experienced one fire per week.

When the boom turned to bust, business owners pulled out. By January 1866, the population had fallen to barely 4,000. In February 1867 another fire destroyed almost all of the remaining buildings. The Pithole Daily Record discontinued publication in July 1868. By 1870 only a few hundred residents remained. Founded on a drawing board in May 1865, the town had all but disappeared in little more than three years.

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