Texas, Alaska, and the Gulf of Mexico are America's most famous oil fields today, but did you know our nation's first oil well was drilled right here in the hills of Western Pennsylvania? Drake's Well in Titusville was the site of the first successful attempt at drilling for oil. Titusville is just a few miles away from appropriately named Oil City, former home of Quaker State Oil (you did know that PA is the Quaker State, right?). It has been a while since PA's oil boom, which lasted from 1859 to about 1870, and PA's oil production peaked in 1891. Today Pennsylvania ranks just 19th of the 50 US states in oil production, with production less than 1 percent that of Texas, the leading state.
These days oil is still pumped in PA, and there are a few refineries around Bradford, including the American Refining Group refinery, which is the oldest continuously operating refinery in the country. However, other forms of energy have far surpassed oil. Today PA is the fourth largest coal producing state in the US, and PA produces 33 percent of its electricity from nuclear power, the second highest rate of nuclear energy in the nation. Today the Marcellus Shale is booming and PA has become a big player in the natural gas industry.
In Summer 2008 in Lucinda and the surrounding area you might see signs reading "Free Morgie." What's a Morgie, you might ask?
These signs refer to local inventor, mechanic, teacher, entrepreneur, fireworks aficionado, gun collector, and all around odd-ball, named Morgan Jones... Morgie for short. He was arrested in the summer of 2008 for supposedly being part of a militia and selling illegal firearms. People who know him call him eccentric, the Fed calls him a danger to society. As of July 2009, Morgie just plead guilty to selling a single weapon out of state and, after 13 months in jail, is still awaiting sentencing.
In Alexandria, VA, a man converted 75 guns to full auto and sold three of them... he was released on his own personal recognizance according to the local paper. What gives?
On a similar note, you might see signs in New Hampshire that say "Free Manure," and that is an altogether different thing.
What are those large, one-story red brick buildings out in the middle of the woods and potato fields in northern Clarion County? A secret government lab creating swine flu or harvesting alien brains? An Al Qaeda training camp? A fat camp for city kids? Maybe one of those religious compounds where a bearded old dude has 75 wives?
Nope. Those buildings house North Clarion Elementary School and North Clarion Junior/Senor High School! Why is the school way out here, miles from the nearest kids, and even farther from the nearest town? That's the big mystery that might never be solved.