It's a brisk Thursday night in September. The year is 1939. Town is abuzz with activity and Spring Street is alive with activity. Where is everyone going this fine night, you might wonder? The line stretches down the block for the main event: the opening of the brand new Penn Theatre.
Within Titusville lives the spirit of those people and businesses that have come and gone; indelibly leaving their mark on our collective soul. One of our oldest districts - what I will affectionately call the Diamond Block - took a heavy blow just last night. This is a hardy block, one of the oldest in our town. Let me tell you a little bit about the history of the various storefronts that have graced Diamond Street through time.
At the top of Chestnut Street there is a long brick building with tall gaping windows. Just standing outside and gazing at it, one can feel the life that has flowed through this building. You can almost see the hustle and bustle of young men and women at the turn of the century who worked there after school to make a couple of bucks and the seasoned artisans and laborers who devoted their lives to an essential, yet beautiful craft. This building has been home to the knife-making industry for 116 years. It is the home of the nationally renowned Queen Cutlery.
Seventy-three years ago on this very day, the people of Titusville and the surrounding areas were talking about the same thing we have all been talking about in hushed whispers today, hoping it will pass us by: SNOW.
Can you remember the sound of the hammer ringing out across town? How about the clanks and clangs of the presses or the scrape of the cold chisel? The plumes of steam and smoke rising into the sky on the east side of Titusville? These were all hallmark signs of one of Titusville's most lucrative non-oil industries: steel-making.
Have you ever felt something brush your shoulder and got a chill? Heard a whisper in your ear and been convinced it is the voice of a loved one passed? Step right up to meet the Titusville Spiritualist Society!
Other than the famous Ida Tarbell, can you name a single woman of importance in Oil Region history? If your answer is no, I assure you it is not because there weren't any! Today I want to highlight two remarkable women whose extraordinary lives and accomplishments in the Oil Region should be remembered and lauded.
It was winter 1870 and men were keeping warm in the Oil Region with two hobbies: drinking and fighting. Both would play a part in the death of Rowland Kightlinger one December night in Hydetown, Pennsylvania.
Petroleum Centre, summer 1866. The streets are muddy, the hotels are bawdy, and you just finished a long day of work in the oil fields and are looking for a place to relax for the evening. You saunter into one of the local bars and before you is one of the most fearsome figures of Petroleum Centre, "Bully Tom" Quirk.