Historic Railroad Map of New York & Pennsylvania - 1882

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Map showing the Pittsburgh, Bradford and Buffalo Railway and its connections.

The Pennsylvania Railroad was founded in 1846 and became a major railroad system connecting Chicago with New York, New Jersey and St. Louis. The railroad's Altoona complex employed thousands of workers as the industry grew.

Bradford was settled in the early 1800's in the valley of the Allegheny Mountains along Tunungwant Creek. The town began to be served by a branch of the Erie Railroad in the spring of 1858.

This rural timber community became an oil boomtown in the late 1800's, when oil of excellent quality was discovered nearby and oil derricks became prominent fixtures throughout the region. With oil wells in Venango and Crawford counties drying up, McKean County became the new target for oil prospectors.

After a number of failed attempts in the 1860's, the first successful well in the vicinity of Bradford was drilled 600 to 700 feet deep. Another well on the Hinchen Farm in the Tuna Valley area was dug to the depth of 1110 feet at a level below a deep sand formation. This well dug in 1871 produced nearly 10 barrels of crude oil daily. A well at the Watkins Farm north of town was drilled in 1875. This active well yielded nearly 200 barrels daily, raising great interest in oil production throughout the area.

The population of Bradford boomed with the oil industry as prospectors and trades-people filled the community. Bradford called itself “Oildorado” in its oil rich years.

Production grew steadily each year and in 1881 nearly 23,000,000 barrels of Bradford oil was produced.
The Buffalo & Pittsburgh Railroad began operations in 1852 between Buffalo and the Pennsylvania state line at Salamanca where it connected with the Allegheny Valley and Erie Railroads. The Buffalo & Bradford Railroad extended into Pennsylvania to the coal mines near Lafayette township beginning in 1856. The two lines merged in 1859, forming the Pittsburgh, Bradford & Buffalo Railway.

The railroad was leased to the Erie Railroad in 1866 for a period of 499 years.

This map was published in 1882 by G.W. & C.B. Colton & Co. It shows portions of west Pennsylvania and New York displaying the coal fields, iron ore areas, and fire clay regions, furnaces, and oil wells. Cities and towns are noted along with the railroad network of 1882.


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