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America's first oil boomtown is now a grassy meadow.

America's first oil boomtown is now a grassy meadow.

 

This year marks the 150th anniversary of the first successful oil well. It was drilled by Col. Edwin Drake in the sleepy town of Titusville, Pennsylvania on August 27th, 1859. The venture sparked an international search for additional sources of oil and eventually set a new course for human history.

Pithole City, America’s first oil boomtown, sprang up almost overnight several years later, in 1865 as richer deposit of oil were successfully drilled. Within a year, the razzle-dazzle city some 15 miles from Drake’s Well in Titusville, attracted nearly 15,000 people and boasted the third busiest post office in Pennsylvania.

Within two years time, the oil began to run out and the town lost it’s steam. Within decades, it was no more than a small cluster of buildings and old, crumbling foundations to mark the sites of some of it’s more elegant buildings. Today, there is a museum operated by volunteers and funded by the state which documents that era. The site itself has now reverted back to a serene grassy meadow.

As the August anniversary of the first successful drilling operation approaches, the City of Titusville and most of the surrounding region is set to celebrate the events. It promises to be a good look at a rapidly disappearing past as America searches for newer and better, more greener, energy sources. Will the newer energy sources changed the course of history as oil did? What will the future look like 150 years from today? Will there be similar boomtowns in the new era?

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