Oil City began as a settlement of the Seneca tribe in the early 1600s. Chief Cornplanter lost the area in a land deal in 1818, and prospectors soon built a furnace, mill, and foundry on the site. But Oil City’s more famous history begins in 1859, when Colonel Edwin Drake became the first to drill the town’s precious natural resource – oil. By its incorporation in 1871, the city was shipping more than a million of barrels of oil a year. More than 50,000 people attend Oil City’s annual Oil Heritage Festival, which honors the city’s history and heritage as a major fuel supplier to the Industrial Revolution. Known as “the valley that changed the world,” the region where Oil Creek meets the Allegheny River is today a friendly, busy town replete with farmers’ markets, antique shops, and raft races.


Select a link below to view history of Oil City, PA.