| This panoramic print of Oil City, Pennsylvania was drawn by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler and published by T. M. Fowler & James B. Moyer in 1896. Oil City emerged from farmlands along the Allegheny River when in the 1820's Matthias Stockberger, William Kinnear and Richard Noyes erected an iron furnace, foundry, steamboat pier, warehouses and mill at the mouth of Oil Creek.
In the late 1850's, oil companies began buying huge portions of land surrounding the creek, laid out parcels and sold them to newcomers arriving with the area’s impending interests in oil. Oil City was formed in 1862 along with the Oil City and Petroleum Bridge Company to protect the area’s interests. That same year Oil City’s fleet of barges was lost to a freezing river flood. In 1863 a fire almost completely destroyed Oil City and wiped out most of the oil barge fleet. The town suffered again in 1864, when huge pileup of barges occurred along Oil Creek. The flood of 1865 submerged Oil City and knocked out railroad lines. Subsequently the town was rebuilt and the railroads improved becoming the oil’s permanent mode of transport.
The borough had major drainage problems in its early years which weren’t fully cured until the 1870's when sewers were installed. It was not uncommon to see muddy streets. The single-spanned Center Street Bridge was built in 1866. The Atlantic & Great Western Railroad built an iron-truss bridge that same year at the mouth of Oil Creek. The Allegheny Railroad added a wooden-truss bridge in 1869 to the landscape. Oil City received their telephone exchange in 1881. In the 1880's, pipelines began carrying oil directly from the oil fields to waiting ships at Oil City.
The map from 1896 includes labeled streets, bridges, buildings, oil wells and railroad routes.
Features numbered & lettered references to the following locations:
1. City Hall.
2. Public Schools.
4. Electric Light Plant.
5. Hotel Connor. J. H. Connor, Proprietor.
6. Commercial Hotel. Worden Bros., Proprietors.
7. Exchange Hotel. C. H. Weaver, Proprietor.
8. City Hotel. Fritz & Gilbert, Proprietors.
9. Oil City Boiler Works.
10. Oil City Tube Co.
11. National Transit Shops.
12. Machine & Blacksmith Shop. Robert Boardman, Proprietor.
13. Palace Hill Brewery. Saltzmann Bros., Proprietors.
14. United Lumber & Coal Co., Ltd.
15. Caldwell & Borland Lumber Co.
16. Geenfield Lumber & Coal Co.
17. Carriage Factory. Bateman & Blackman, Proprietors.
18. Oil Well Supply Co.
19. Machine Shop & Foundry. Joseph Reid, Proprietor.
20. Steam Laundry. Geo. W. Foster, Proprietor.
21. Germania Refining Co.
22. Penn. Refining Co., Ltd.
23. Union R. R. Station.
24. A. V. R. R. Station.
25. L. S. & M. S. R. R. Station.
A. St. Joseph’s Catholic Church.
B. Baptist Church.
C. First Presbyterian Church.
D. Second Presbyterian Church.
E. Trinity M. E. Church.
F. Christ P. E. Church.
G. Grace M. E. Church.
H. United Presbyterian Church.
I. Lutheran Church.
J. Free Methodist Church.
K. Evangelical Church.
L. African M. E. Church.