Outstanding artifacts, scenic views, area museums, cultural traditions and the communities themselves continue to depict the Oil Region’s legacy as the birthplace of the petroleum industry. The initial oil boom was triggered by Edwin Drake’s 1859 drilling of the world’s first successful commercial oil well. Its development was fueled by inventors and entrepreneurs coping with and creating new methods for the production, movement, refining and business management of this energy industry. Rapid shifts of wealth, population, communications systems and transportation established the area’s pattern of Victorian era towns along the waterways and more recent communities on the highlands. Today, residents and visitors enjoy heritage attractions, warm hospitality and four seasons of outdoor recreation in “the Valley that Changed the World.”
The Oil Region was designated by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania as an official Pennsylvania Heritage Area in 1994 and by the National Park Service as an official National Heritage Area in 2004. The state and federal designations use the same boundaries, comprising 34 municipalities in 708 square miles. Included are the City of Titusville and Oil Creek Township in eastern Crawford County, Hydetown Borough in eastern Crawford County, plus all of the County of Venango.
Heritage development activities address one or more of the following goals:
Projects may seek financial assistance via the Oil Region Alliance if they address those goals and are mentioned in or are consistent with the latest Oil Region Management Action Plan or the Oil Heritage Region Interpretive Plan. Executive summaries of those plan documents are provided free upon request.
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