View of Bradford, McKean County,
P.A., 1895 / drawn & published by T. M. Fowler & James B. Moyer.
The panoramic view of Bradford, Pennsylvania was drawn by Thaddeus Mortimer Fowler and published by T. M. Fowler & James B. Moyer in 1895. Bradford was settled in the early 1800s 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.
The 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. An overabundance of crude oil presented a new problem for the community as transportation costs grew high and quantities began to exceed sales. The Tidewater Oil Company built several storage tanks nearby and an oil pipeline that ran all the way to the Atlantic Coast. These tanks held any overage of oil until it could be sold. Production at the wells leveled out and by 1890 most considered the wells exhausted. The wells were later restored using a new water injection system.
The map from 1895 includes clearly labeled streets, buildings, oil derricks and railroad lines.
Features numbered & lettered references to the following locations:
1. Public School.
2. Post Office.
3. Bradford Hospital.
4. St. James Hotel. J. C. Fox, Proprietor.
5. Riddell House. F. P. Holley, Proprietor.
6. The Rochester. Gallagher & Devine, Proprietors.
7. The Henderson. J. D. Burt, Proprietor.
8. United States Hotel. P. Milqueen, Proprietor.
9. Bay State Hotel. A. E. Hurley, Proprietor.
10. Emery Mfg.
11. Bradford Hardwood Lumber Co.
12. Locke Machine Works. F. A. Fowler, Proprietor.
13. Bovaird & Seyfang Mfg. Co.
14. Standard Wood Co.
15. Tuna Iron Works. F. Hamilton & Co.
16. Wheels & Reels Mfg. Watson & Meachem, Proprietors.
17. Tuna Mfg. Co.
18. Bradford Steam Laundry. Freeman & Kathan, Proprietors.
19. Machine Shop. D. W. Robertson, Proprietor.
20. B. R. & P. R. R. Shops.
21. B. R. & P. R. R. Station.
22. N. Y. L. E. & W. R. R. Station.
23. W. N. Y. & P. R. R. Station.
A. St. Bernard Catholic Church.
B. Presbyterian Church.
C. First M. E. Church.
D. M. E. Church.
E. First Baptist Church.
F. Universalist Church.
G. Presbyterian Church.
H. United Brethren Church.
I. Lutheran (Swede) Church.
J. Episcopal Church.
K. Beth Zion Reformed Temple.
L. Free Methodist Church.
M. Bnai Israel Synagogue.
N. A. M. E. Church.