“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Parker in Armstrong County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Parker, Pennsylvania

Parker, Pennsylvania Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel
1. Parker, Pennsylvania Marker
Panel 1
Side Bar

Settled: 1819
Incorporated: March 4 1873
Elevation: 1037'
2014 Population: 840
County: Armstrong

Bear Creek Pump Station
Built in 1879, the Bear Creek Pump Station was the nation's largest pump station for some time. A central point for the 21 lines connecting the eastern United States, and the mid-continent fields to the west, their storage capacity peaked at 75 tanks, each holding 25-30,000 barrels of oil. The original station's steam power operated on a battery of 15 boilers.
Bear Creek Pump Station used Worthington and National Transit Company pumps. Some of these huge pumps each required several railroad cars to ship. Pump Number 4 at Bear Creek moved one barrel of oil per revolution. The steam powered station had a capacity of 125,000 barrels daily. In the early spring of 1949 the station was electrified. The station was so diversified that five different grades of oil could be moved simultaneously. For maintenance and repairs, it operated a fully equipped machine and blacksmith shop as a separate division. The daily oil dispatch sheet was also kept here. During the Steam Age, this station had 32 employees and three telegraph operators on duty.
On April 23, 1974, the Bear Creek Pump Station was ordered shut down. The pump station closed in May 1974.
Inscription.  Parker is the only city in Armstrong County and is located in its extreme northwestern portion. The city was named for Judge John Parker, lead surveyor of Lawrenceburg and founder/owner of Parker's Landing-the two villages combined to create Parker. Today, Parker is known as the "Smallest City in the USA."
The oil boom reached the Parker area in the spring of 1865 on the William E. Robinson farm, just north of the present day City of Parker. Residents were not genuinely excited about oil being struck until 1869 when they realized the importance of the oil fields surrounding the small village. A forest of derricks dotted the land around Parker's Landing and it rapidly became a center of activity. Lawrenceburg, settled in 1819 for the Bear Creek Furnace operators, became a busy village filled with operators and drillers wanting to share in the work and profits.
Nine very successful wells on Stump Creek Island, just north of the city, made Parker's Landing one of the top oil producers. By November 1869, the 1,056 wells in Parker and Lawrenceburg were either completed, producing, or drilling, leading to a period of unprecedented prosperity.
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of industries sprung up quickly, and Parker's population grew to more than 20,000, with another 5,000 living on boats along the banks of the Allegheny River. Millionaires built massive mansions on the bluff, and houses were built throughout the villages. Every available space was occupied. In the midst of the western Pennsylvania oil boom, the villages of Parker's Landing (along the river) and Lawrenceburg (on the bluff) were incorporated on March 1, 1873 as the City of Parker.
Organized on March 4, 1875, the Parker Oil Exchange was the central trading body in the petroleum fields. It was here that fortunes were made and lost in a day. For several years, the Parker Oil Exchange handled the largest volume of trading in the entire oil region. The boom, however, quickly went bust.
Oil production was dwindling by 1878, with many wells running dry. When the supply was exhausted, the oil boom (and speculators) moved on to the next field. Then, in 1879, a disastrous fire gutted almost the entire waterfront section of the city, wiping out 83 buildings in a single night. Little effort was made to rebuild, so this was the final straw in the city's economic collapse. Parker reached its lowest point in 1880 when homes that cost thousands were sold for mere hundreds.
Over a brief span of 10 years, had grown from a simple village of 1,000 residents, to the heights of a bustling
Parker, Pennsylvania Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel
2. Parker, Pennsylvania Marker
Panel 2
Side Bar

There are a variety of local options for hiking on the North Country National Scenic Trail. From Foxburg the NCT follows the Allegheny River on the paved bike trail, crossing over the mouth of the Clarion River and passing Indian Rock. A stroll along the walkway on the Parker Bridge features stunning views of the Allegheny River, and the approaching trail town of Parker. The sidewalks along River Avenue, Washington Street and South Jackson Avenue allow visitors to stop for lunch at several establishments. Further west, the trail enters a more challenging section in PA State Gamelands 95. Here the hiker will be treated to rushing streams, unique wooden bridges, rock formations, and a hemlock gorge-all overlaid with historic remnants of the past oil boom. Numerous trailheads and parking areas are provided.

Indian Rock
Local legend tells a story of the Indians keeping watch over their land by peering through the hole in the rock that looks out over the area that, in later years, became Parker's Landing.

Passing Time
on Hogan's Floating Palace

Ben Hogan The most notorious bad man of the Oil Region, Hogan settled in Parker's Landing in early 1870 and opened the first brothel here. Always at odds with local settlers, he moved his brothel, bar, and dance hall to his "Floating Palace," anchored in the middle of the Allegheny River, during the summer of 1871 to get away from local authorities. He left town in 1873 when he moved on to the next oil field.

Parker House Today
A log warehouse was built in 1824 by John Parker for his son Fullerton. It was converted into a hotel in 1869 during the oil and lumber booms. It housed the Parker Oil Exchange for a brief period in 1875-1876. The building burned in a horrific fire on April 3, 1873, along with an additional 59 buildings. The Parker House was rebuilt and has continued in operation.
city, then returned to its historic small village size with a population of about 1,000-thus earning Parker its status as the "Smallest City in the USA."
Parker received national attention again in 2014 when a massive ice jam formed along the Allegheny River and caused some flooding. The jam was so massive that it attracted tourists and several news reporters.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Anthropology & ArchaeologyIndustry & CommerceNative AmericansWaterways & Vessels. A significant historical date for this entry is March 1, 1873.
Location. 41° 5.783′ N, 79° 40.861′ W. Marker is in Parker, Pennsylvania, in Armstrong County. Marker is on North River Avenue (Pennsylvania Route 268) 0.1 miles south of Bluff Road, on the right when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Parker PA 16049, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Parker's Landing Petroglyphs (approx. 0.6 miles away); Rural Electrification (approx. 0.9 miles away); Foxburg (approx. 2.9 miles away); Erie to Pittsburgh Trail (approx. 2.9 miles away); F.H. Ball Steam Engine (approx. 3.1 miles away); Foxburg Golf Course (approx. 3˝ miles away); Foxburg Country Club (approx. 3.7 miles away); The Emlenton Mill (approx. 5.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Parker.
Also see . . .
North Country Scenic Trail image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel
3. North Country Scenic Trail
Panel 3
 Welcome to the City of Parker, Pennsylvania. (Submitted on July 19, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.)
Parker, Pennsylvania Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Mike Wintermantel
4. Parker, Pennsylvania Marker
Credits. This page was last revised on July 19, 2021. It was originally submitted on July 19, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 351 times since then and 103 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on July 19, 2021, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

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Jun. 9, 2023