Oil City

My hometown of Oil City is a small town in Venango County, Pennsylvania, located on the confluence of Oil Creek and the Allegheny River in western PA. Population was about 22,000 in 1959 when we moved to NJ, but now has dwindled to about 10,000. The photos below have been processed from slides taken in the early 70’s while passing through. It was a big processing center for the oil industry, and is not far from the first oil well in Titusville. Oil City was the home of Quaker State Oil.

The Latonia Theatre. Located at 1 E 1st St. Built in 1926. Last movie shown in 1969.

Swimming pool, Hasson Heights. Spent many a summer day there. Had my bike stolen once, but the police actually found it and we were able to go down to the pound and pick it up.

The old downtown YMCA. Went to the free Friday night movies a lot, played pool, or went swimming in the underground pool. Saturday morning was the time to go the gym to climb the wall ladders, play dodge ball, throw medicine balls, and run around the track which went around the upper part of the gym. It was also home to a basement cafeteria which was accessed from the front sidewalk.

A view of downtown, with the J&L (Jones & Laughton) Steel Tubing plant at the end. My father worked there as a supervisor from the time he got out of the Army until we moved in 1959.

A view of a section of Drake Drive, on street I lived on. It is roughly shaped like a half a water drop. Both ends of the street open onto Mitchell Avenue.

Another slightly different view of Drake Drive.

The entrance sign for Hasson Heights Park.

The Oil City High School.

Dr, Thomas Todhunter’s house on Sage Run Road. This is the first house I can remember living in as a kid.  After moving to NJ in 1959, it was always referred to as “Todhunter’s”, even though we had bought it from the Dr. That was back when you could have a family doctor who would make house calls. We had a small black and white TV which received a signal from the tower on top of the mountain behind us. That was a big deal back then! Programs included Howdy Doody, Sky King, Mr. Wizard and various live shows.

A field with mountains in the background, somewhere on the outskirts of the city.

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