In 1859 Edwin L. Drake drilled the oil well that launched the modern petroleum industry. The Drake Well Museum in Titusville, Pennsylvania tells the story of this little well where the great big oil industry began.
People had been harvesting petroleum for centuries, but when they realized it was useable as lantern fuel when refined it became all the more desirable. Drake invested his entire savings ($200) in the Pennsylvania oil industry, then became more hands-on and took out a loan to build an oil well. Rather than just manual digging, he used the technique employed in salt mines to dredge up oil deep in the earth. This technique, for better or for worse, led to what the oil industry is today.
The museum details the history of the modern oil industry with orientation videos, exhibits, operating oil field machinery, and historic buildings. Biking and hiking trails in nearby Oil Creek State Park begin at the museum. Picnic pavilions, fishing, and canoeing on Oil Creek, and a ride on the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad are also available for visitors young and old.