Historical Markers
Drake Well Park Historical Marker
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Drake Well Park

Lake Erie Region


Marker Location:
At Drake Well Museum Southeast of Titusville

Behind the Marker

As Oil Creek winds toward the Allegheny, it follows a small ridge and takes a wide, curved turn. The valley opens and a flat plain extends along the stream's edge. At this site, early settlers found rectangular pits dug into the ground and lined with raw timber. Early inhabitants had allowed oil to seep out of the soil and into the pits. Open pools of oil were common. By the 1850s Dr. Francis Brewer, whose family ran a lumber company and owned a great deal of land, suspected that the pools of oil meant that there was more to be found. In the late 1850s, he entered into a drilling business arrangement with the Seneca Oil Company. The company brought Edwin Drake to this small plot of land in order to drill the world's first oil well.

An inset photo of a man standing next to a pipe protruding from a small plank platform. The larger photo shows the reconstructed derrick enclosed in wooden boards.
An inset photo of a man standing next to a pipe protruding from a small plank...
Townspeople, who had little knowledge of oil's commercial value, gawked at Drake's new well in August 1859. One correspondent described Drake as "in the position of the man who drew the elephant at the raffle and did not know what to do with it after he got it..." Combining investment with science, developers took Drake's discovery and manipulated it into one of the world's greatest commodities.

The Drake Well Park preserves the site of this tremendous discovery. Established in the early 1900s, the museum and library at Drake Well were built in 1934. Today, the complex is managed by the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.

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