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.
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.
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.
"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!
The night was dark and the snow fell heavily onto the moving train, slick tracks, and quiet woods along the Lake Shore Railroad from Erie, Pennsylvania to Ashtabula, Ohio. December 29th, 1876 was like many other winter nights, until at approximately 8:00pm, when everything changed.
AKA: Episode 2 of A Thousand Ways to Die in the Oil Region. Just after the oil boom, Dr. George W. Barr moved to Titusville with his wife and children in mid-1865. Little did he know the tragedy that would befall him in his new home.