Historical Markers
Murrysville Gas Well Historical Marker
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Murrysville Gas Well

Pittsburgh Region


Marker Location:
US 22 at SR 4033 (Mill Street), Murrysville

Dedication Date:
July 13, 1960

Behind the Marker

One of the first applications of natural gas occurred quite by accident. In the 1870s Josh Cooper was tending a pot of boiling maple sugar in the woods of Murrysville along Turtle Creek, about 18 miles east of Pittsburgh. The boiling pot was a very familiar part of life here. However, its fuel was very odd. A steady stream of invisible fuel from the ground heated the pot. For Cooper, this was merely a convenience. Enterprising eyes, however, would see it differently.

Others took notice of the unusual fuel. In the next several years discovery and invention led the way to the development of a new fuel source for homes and industry. Murrysville became the site of the nation's first commercial gas well industry. Many new businesses took shape in the region, including Equitable Gas Company, which was soon acquired by George Westinghouse to become part of his Philadelphia Company. Later in 1885 and 1886 individuals who established the Haymaker Gas Well moved on to Ohio and created the Sun Oil Company. Equitable had 440,000 acres under lease in Pennsylvania and West Virginia by 1910. They operated over 900 wells. In the 1930s, Equitable constructed the first underground gas storage fields that, in part, provided fuel for Pittsburgh.

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