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.
Few lifelong residents are unable to conjure up a memory of when they first learned to swim at Burgess Park or got a summer job as a lifeguard or hung out with their friends and family poolside throughout the decades. However, it is also likely few people remember when and why the Dick Kraffert pool came about.
Towering on a hilltop near Pittsburgh sat Dixmont Asylum for the Insane, later deemed Dixmont Hospital. Though Dixmont no longer looms in the minds of Northwestern Pennsylvanians today, it was both lauded and feared by residents in the late 1800s.
"Behind the Nametag" is a new series we are starting here at Benson Memorial Library to tell the stories of some of our community members! We are performing interviews with some of the people you see everyday - the faces who greet you at the store in the morning, or help you when you're sick. People who you "know" but don't really know. We are here to change that!