Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Ambridge trivia: Did you know...? #5 11th St. oil well

A working oil well once stood on 11th Street between Duss Avenue and Beaver Road.

Oil Derrick
11th St. between Duss Ave. and Beaver Rd.
circa 1900s
Daily Citizen
July 12, 1955

Original caption says:
IN THE GOOD OLE DAYS--This oil derrick was on 11th St., near Duss Ave., and Beaver Rd., in the early 1900's. Are you old enough to recall the setting?
I knew there once were oil wells in the Legionville and Tevebaugh Hollow areas, and I also knew that the Harmonites invested in oil wells, but the wells I'd read about weren't in what's currently Ambridge Borough, but rather on farmland in Economy and New Sewickley Townships.

I hadn't read anything about oil wells on the hills of Ambridge until I stumbled across an article about Economy in of all places, a 1899 magazine for railway conductors* which described "green hills dotted with oil derricks" and mentioned "hillsides, now leased to an oil speculator whose derricks overlook the village."

The photo above is the first I've found clearly identified as being an oil well in Ambridge. I do not know the year the photo was taken.

* "Economy--A Communistic Scheme in Practice" by Isaac Barrow, The Railway Conductor, 1899, Vol. XVI, Published by the Order of Railway Conductors

Update December 4, 2014: Because I know I have readers not familiar with Ambridge streets, I'm adding this current Google satellite view of the area of 11th Street between Duss Avenue (on the left side) and Beaver Road (not Beaver Street as indicated by Google) on the right. That area may have been vacant enough for an oil well in the 1900s, but it's been densely residential for a long while. You can't tell from this view, but 11th Street from Lenz Avenue to Beaver Road is quite steep.

I don't know how the derrick in the photo could be "near" both Duss Avenue and Beaver Road as described in the original photo caption. Perhaps the person who gave that as the location wasn't familiar with Ambridge streets. Or we have different definitions of "near."

11th St. between Duss Ave. and Beaver Rd.
Google satellite view

1 comment:

  1. jd aka john domansky
    somehow i seem to remember an oil rig in that area, just up past beaver rd on the right side, about 1940, i also remember a very long staired area on the right side going up towards 10th st.