Oil City, PA
Region: Pennsylvania's Great Lakes Region
Oil City began as a settlement of the Seneca tribe in the early 1600s. Chief Cornplanter lost the area in a land deal in 1818, and prospectors soon built a furnace, mill, and foundry on the site. But Oil City's more famous history begins in 1861, when the first oil wells were drilled, eventually hosting the headquarters of Pennzoil and Quaker State oil companies. By its incorporation in 1871, the city was shipping more than a million barrels of oil a year. More than 50,000 people attend Oil City's annual Oil Heritage Festival, which honors the city's history and heritage as a major fuel supplier to the Industrial Revolution. Known as "the valley that changed the world," the region where Oil Creek meets the Allegheny River is today a friendly, busy town replete with farmers' markets, antique shops, and raft races.