The year is 1985. It's a summer evening in Titusville, Pennsylvania and you are dancing the night away under the light flares of the disco ball while the DJ plays "Raspberry Beret", "We Built this City", and other chart-toppers that please the crowd. The building you are in houses a great deal of history tracing all the way back to the oil boom era and in a mere thirteen years will no longer exist. Where are you? Welcome to the Colonel Drake Hotel.
When the City of Titusville bought the home at 732 East Main Street in June 2018, the controversy was immediate. Regardless of one's feelings about the purchase of the property or the plans for its future, few likely know the full extent of the home's history, its previous residents, and its place in Titusville's past.
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.
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!