History: However You Like It

Ken Hall's Packet BoatI have no problem admitting that I’m no history buff, nor am I interested in becoming one. This can be tough at times as I live in a region surrounded by an interesting past that attracts visitors and occupies the thoughts and energy of many locals. With a healthy respect I do my best to guide those seeking information towards those who have good knowledge of our region. I am grateful that they are here to tell the tales. And contrary to my first instinct it is not always the elders among us who are interested in our history.

A couple of weeks ago a young man fresh out of college traveled through Oil City as part of a cross country journey. A geologist from France, he we well aware of the role that Drake’s well played in his field of interest. A chance meeting provided him with the perfect tour guide to take him to the Drake Well Museum in Titusville where he was actually able to be a part of transcribing history.

This weekend Clarion University – Venango Campus hosted the annual Community History Days. The two day event included demonstrating artists, a display of hit-n-miss engines and a trolley tour of historic homes. The highlight for me was a ride on a replica packet boat. Captain Ken Hall lead us on the half mile excursion up the Allegheny River, while telling us about the days when this was the best method of transporting oil for trading. Living history like this certainly catches my interest.

Oil Creek 100And my last story to show the diverse way to experience history in our region leaves you time to prepare, if your man (or woman) enough! Yesterday my 3 teenagers, husband and I headed to Oil Creek State Park for some good family time hiking. We committed to a couple of hours and what surely justifies being called a mountain. Lead by our trusty Golden Retriever we got the hardest part out of the way at the start, climbing Girard Trail to the scenic outlook. I described to my family the Oil Creek 100 trail race that will be held in October. Racers will take to the trails for a run (walk if you like) of 30, 50 or 100 miles. The path will take you through the region once dense with oil wells and small but heavily populated cities. So get out your running shoes and get ready to look at history in a very new way.

How will you explore the history of our region this summer?