Titusville, Pennsylvania

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Titusville, Pennsylvania
PA 8-27 in Titusville.jpg
Etymology: Jonathan Titus
The Queen City
The Valley That Changed the World
Location of Titusville in Crawford County, Pennsylvania
Location of Titusville in Crawford County, Pennsylvania
Titusville is located in Pennsylvania
Location in Pennsylvania
Titusville is located in the United States
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 41°38′N 79°40′W / 41.633°N 79.667°W / 41.633; -79.667Coordinates: 41°38′N 79°40′W / 41.633°N 79.667°W / 41.633; -79.667
CountryUnited States
Incorporated (city)February 28, 1866
Founded byJonathan Titus
Region government/seatCouncil–manager
 • MayorJon Crouch (R)
 • City2.90 sq mi (7.51 km2)
 • Land2.90 sq mi (7.51 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
[2] (middle of city)
1,200 ft (400 m)
Highest elevation
[2] (northeast corner of city)
1,621 ft (494 m)
Lowest elevation
[2] (Oil Creek)
1,150 ft (350 m)
 • City5,601
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,778.62/sq mi (686.62/km2)
 • Urban
Time zoneUTC-4 (EST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-5 (EDT)
ZIP Code
Area code(s)814
FIPS code42-76904

Titusville is a city in the far east corner of Crawford County, Pennsylvania, United States. The population was 5,601 at the 2010 census[4] and an estimated 5,158 in 2019.[3] Titusville is known as the birthplace of the American oil industry and for a number of years was the leading oil-producing region in the world.[5] Titusville was notable for its lumber industry, including 17 sawmills, as well as its plastic and toolmaking industries.


Titusville in 1896, by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler

The area was first settled in 1796 by Jonathan Titus. Within 14 years, others bought and improved land lying near his, along the banks of what is now Oil Creek. Titus named the village Edinburg(h), but as it grew, the settlers began to call the hamlet Titusville. The village was incorporated as a borough in 1849. It was a slow-growing community until the 1850s, when petroleum was discovered in the region.

Oil was known to exist there, but there was no practical way to extract it. Its main use at that time had been as a medicine for both animals and humans.[6] In the late 1850s, the Seneca Oil Company (formerly the Pennsylvania Rock Oil Company) sent Col. Edwin L. Drake, to start drilling on a piece of leased land just south of Titusville, near what is now Oil Creek State Park.[5] In the summer of 1859, Drake hired a salt well driller, William A. Smith. They had many difficulties but, on August 27, at the site of an oil spring just south of Titusville, they finally drilled a well that could be commercially successful.

Teamsters were needed immediately to transport the oil to markets. In 1862, the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad was built between Titusville and Corry, where the product was transferred to larger east-west railroad lines. In 1865, pipelines were laid directly to the line and the demand for teamsters practically ended. The next year the railroad line was extended south to Petroleum Centre and Oil City. The Union & Titusville Railroad was built in 1865. That line became part of the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad in 1871. That fall, President Ulysses S. Grant visited Titusville to view the important region.

Other oil-related businesses were quickly established. Eight refineries were built between 1862 and 1868. Drilling tools were needed and several iron works were built. Titusville grew from 250 residents to 10,000 almost overnight and in 1866, it incorporated as a city. In 1871, the first oil exchange in the United States was established there. The exchange moved from the city, but returned in 1881 in a new, brick building, before being dissolved in 1897.[7]

The first oil millionaire was Jonathan Watson, a resident of Titusville. He owned the land where Drake's well was drilled. He had been a partner in a lumber business prior to the success of the well. At one time it was said that Titusville had more millionaires per capita than anywhere else in the world.

One resident of note was Franklin S. Tarbell, whose large Italianate home still stands. He first moved a few miles south in Venango County and established a wooden stock tank business. About 10 miles (16 km) south-east of Titusville was another oil boom city, Pithole. Oil was discovered in a rolling meadow there in January 1865 and, by September 1865, the population was 15,000. But the oil soon ran dry and within four years the city was nearly deserted. Tarbell moved to Titusville in 1870. His daughter, Ida Minerva Tarbell, grew up amidst the sounds and smells of the oil industry. She became an accomplished writer and published a series of articles about the business practices of the Standard Oil Company and its president, John D. Rockefeller, which sparked legislative action in Congress concerning monopolies.

Fire was always a significant concern around oil and one of the worst blazes was on June 11, 1880. It came to be known as "Black Friday", when almost 300,000 barrels (48,000 m3) of oil burned after an oil tank was hit by lightning. The fire raged for three days until it finally was brought under control. The destroyed oil was valued at $2 million, but there was no loss of life. Another fire occurred on June 5, 1892, when Oil Creek flooded and a tank of petroleum ether overturned. The petroleum ether ignited and, in the ensuing explosions, 60 men, women and children died. Another lightning strike in 1894 resulted in 27,000 barrels (4,300,000 liters) of oil being lost in a fire.

Oil production in Pennsylvania peaked in 1891, after which other industries became established in Titusville. The iron and steel industries dominated the town in the early twentieth century, with lumber eventually reclaiming its former pre-eminence. Oil still has some relevance, however. Charter Plastics, now located in a building that once manufactured pressure vessels, stationary engines and boilers for the oil industry, uses oil in its production processes.[8]


Titusville is located at 41°38′N 79°40′W / 41.633°N 79.667°W / 41.633; -79.667 (41.629, −79.674).[9]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 2.9 square miles (7.5 km2), all land.

Located 44.4 miles south of Erie, Pennsylvania

83.6 miles North of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania

122.9 Miles East of Cleveland, Ohio

120.5 Miles South of Buffalo, New York

78.2 Miles North East of Youngstown, Ohio


Month Temp. (min) Temp. (max) Temp. (avg) Precipitation
January 23 °F 46 °F 29 °F 4.0"
February 19 °F 39 °F 28 °F 3.9"
March 29 °F 51 °F 37 °F 4.3"
April 37 °F 63 °F 50 °F 5.1"
May 48 °F 79 °F 57 °F 5.4"
June 59 °F 87 °F 69 °F 6.8"
July 64 °F 95 °F 78 °F 7.9"
August 58 °F 83 °F 73 °F 7.0"
September 53 °F 73 °F 64 °F 5.2"
October 47 °F 61 °F 51 °F 4.8"
November 33 °F 56 °F 45 °F 3.8"
December 25 °F 42 °F 33 °F 3.4"

Natural Features[edit]

The City of Titusville is located in the southeastern Corner of Crawford County in the Pittsburgh High Plateau. The city is drained by Oil Creek, a south-flowing tributary of the Allegheny River, and two tributaries to Oil Creek, Pine Creek, and Church Run. The lowest elevation in the City of Titusville is 1,150 ft (350 m) where Oil Creek flows south of out of the city. The highest elevation is 1,650 ft (500 m) on a high point at the northeastern corner of the city.[2]


Historical population
Census Pop.
2019 (est.)5,158[3]−7.9%

As of the 2017 United States Census, there were 5,418 people, 2,397 households, and 1,337 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,931.2 inhabitants per square mile (745.6/km2). There were 2,876 housing units at an average density of 901.7 per square mile (348.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 96.2% White, 1.9% African American, 0.2% Native American, 0.9% Asian, 0.2% from other races, and 1.1% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.2% of the population.

There were 2,322 households, out of which 25.4% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 39.2% were married couples living together, 13.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 42.4% were non-families. 37.4% of all households were made up of individuals, and 19.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.23 and the average family size was 2.91.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 22.8% under the age of 18, 11.7% from 18 to 24, 22.2% from 25 to 44, 24.5% from 45 to 64, and 19.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.1 years. For every 100 females, there were 84.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 79.0 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,978 and the median income for a family was $39,679. Males had a median income of $27,283 versus $20,458 for females. The per capita income for the city was $19,915. About 13.0% of families and 15.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 17.4% of those under age 18 and 6.7% of those age 65 or over.


  • Crawford Area Transportation Authority
  • Titusville Regional Airport

Historical markers[edit]

Downtown Titusville, PA in 2014


Drake Well


  • OilFest- Festival in Titusville largest day time festival in Pennsylvania
  • Home for the Holidays- Christmas Activities in December in Titusville
  • Heart of the Arts folk and music festival
  • Titusville Summer Concert Series


The area is served by the Titusville Area School District which includes Titusville High School, Titusville Middle School, Mainstreet Elementary. Pleasantville Elementary, Hydetown Elementary, ECLC.


University of Pittsburgh at Titusville

Notable people[edit]

In popular culture[edit]

  • American rapper Afroman says, "Did a show that night in Titusville/Afro is the tightest and that's for real" in the song "Pimpin Pennsylvania".[17]
  • American singer, songwriter, musician, and actor Johnny Cash mentioned the story of Titusville and performed a song about it on the Johnny Cash Show in 1970. [18]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "2019 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved July 28, 2020.
  2. ^ a b c d "Get Maps". USGS Topoview. US Geological Survey. Retrieved May 9, 2021.
  3. ^ a b c "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved May 27, 2020.
  4. ^ "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Titusville city, Pennsylvania". U.S. Census Bureau, American Factfinder. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved June 2, 2015.
  5. ^ a b "Titusville, Pennsylvania, 1896". World Digital Library. 1896. Retrieved July 16, 2013.
  6. ^ Hendrick, Burton J. (1919). "II THE FIRST GREAT AMERICAN TRUST" (PDF). The Age of Big Business. New Haven: Yale University Press. p. 27. Retrieved August 17, 2013.
  7. ^ Explorepahistory.com Accessed August 8, 2008
  8. ^ "Charter Plastics". Charter Plastics. Retrieved March 11, 2020.
  9. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  10. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  11. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  12. ^ "Incorporated Places and Minor Civil Divisions Datasets: Subcounty Resident Population Estimates: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2012". Population Estimates. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on June 17, 2013. Retrieved December 11, 2013.
  13. ^ "Pennsylvania Historical Marker Search". www.phmc.state.pa.us. Retrieved May 12, 2020.
  14. ^ "Historic Pithole City | Drake Well Museum". www.drakewell.org. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  15. ^ "Benson Memorial Library – 213 North Franklin Street, Titusville, PA 16354-1788 — Phone: 814-827-2913". Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  16. ^ "Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad – Home". www.octrr.org. Retrieved December 6, 2019.
  17. ^ "Pimpin' Pennsylvania – Afroman". SongLyrics.com. Retrieved April 27, 2020.
  18. ^ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HxxtrK___n4

External links[edit]