Pithole, Pennsylvania

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The main street of Pithole, 1866
Pithole Presbyterian Church, 2009

Pithole or Pithole City is a ghost town in Cornplanter Township, Venango County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is about 6 miles (9.7 km) from Oil Creek State Park and the Drake Well Museum. The first oil well was in that area.[1] The quick growing of Pithole and then fast decline made it one of the most famous of the oil boomtowns.[2][3]

Oil was found at wells close to Pithole in January 1865. A large number of people moved to the area. Many of these people were land speculators. The town was built in May. By December, the area became an official town with about 20,000 people living in it.[4] Pithole had at least 54 hotels, 3 churches, the third biggest post office in Pennsylvania, a newspaper, a theater, a railroad, the world's first pipeline, and a red-light district "the likes of Dodge City's".[5] By 1866, less oil was being made in Pithole. Oil was found in other towns near Pithole. This made many people from Pithole leave to live in those places. By 1877, the town no longer existed.[6][1]

The site was cleared of plants and was given to the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 1961. A visitors center with information about the history of Pithole, was built in the 1970s. Pithole was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1973.

References[change | change source]

  1. "Oil Creek State Park". Pennsylvania Department of Conservation and Natural Resources. Retrieved February 27, 2010.
  2. "Pithole's Rise and Fall" (PDF). The New York Times. December 26, 1879. p. 2. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  3. Darrah 1972, p. 240.
  4. "Tappan's Mushroom City" (PDF). The New York Times. September 8, 1884. p. 8. Retrieved February 16, 2010.
  5. Hirschl, Beatrice Paul (August 12, 1996). "A peak [sic] at Pithole's past". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. p. D1.
  6. Bell, Herbert C 1890. History of Venango County, Pennsylvania. Chicago: Brown, Runk.

Sources[change | change source]

Other websites[change | change source]