In August, we went up to Pennsylvania to visit the Hogues (and Smiths). We had planned to visit Niagra Falls, but read that it might be difficult to get over to the Canadian side because of COVID.
Dave would be busy that Saturday working as a conductor for the Titusville train. We bought tickets to go harass him on the job. Fortunately, he didn’t throw us off the train while it was moving.
Before the train ride, we visited the Drake Well Museum. I think I was a lot more geeked out about it than the rest of the family. I could have stayed for another hour, but there was a train to catch!
According to the guide, before oil was pulled from the ground, people would just collect it from pools at the surface. Oil Creek was known to have pools of oil, and that’s why it was selected for the first oil well.
Originally, oil was valuable because it could be turned into kerosene, which was fuel for lamps. It was cheaper than whale oil, which had been getting more expensive because of over-whaling.
What you have to remember is that there wasn’t much of an energy industry back then. This was 20 years before Manhattan even had electricity. They used wood and coal burning steam engines to run everything. Instead of wires, they would transfer energy and signal through long poles connected together with hooks. Off one steam engine, you could power dozens of wells. It was fascinating to learn about the beginning of the oil industry, which started on a tiny creek in Northwest Pennsylvania. Listen to the Johny Cash song “Ride this Train.”
This all wore Cara out.