McDonald in Washington County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
The McDonald Oil Field - The Old McDonald School Bell
The "Great Oil Boom Excitement” of 1891
In the early 1890's, just about the time that the commercialization of oil was becoming big business, the Great McDonald Oil Field was the highest producing oil field in the world. Development of the field began in the summer of 1890 when the Royal Gas Co. drilled two wells on the Noble McDonald farm, approximately two miles west of McDonald Borough and one well on the Edward McDonald farm on the western edge of the Borough. Following the success of the McDonald family wells several more wells were drilled in and around the Borough over the next several months. It was not uncommon to see wells spring up in parks, empty lots, private yards and even on church property. Over the next three years (1890-1893) at least 1266 wells were drilled in the McDonald area and it is estimated that at least 100 of those were actually located inside the Borough. From 1893 until 1910 at least another 1000 wells were drilled in the McDonald Field and two of those wells, The Mathews #1, located just East of town, are still recognized as the two greatest
The McDonald Oil Field, approximately 10 miles long and three miles wide, with a surface area of approximately 13,000 acres, is centered on the Borough of McDonald and runs Northeast from four miles inside Washington County to six miles inside Allegheny County.
Located entirely in Pennsylvania the McDonald Oil Field is the State's second largest field ever in terms of both geographical size and total oil production.
The McDonald Field, with its exceptionally high rate of oil production, was instrumental in Pennsylvania achieving its historic highest level of oil production with a total yearly production of 31,424,000 barrels. At that time the McDonald Field was,producing somewhere between 84,000 and 96,000 barrels a day.
The McDonald Field continued to support a robust oil industry through the 1960's and even today some local area wells continue to pump on a small scale.
The old school bell was cast and installed in the newly constructed McDonald School in 1875 by the Chaplin-Fulton Company of Pittsburgh. For nearly 75 years the bell's ring called the students of McDonald's elementary and high schools to the classroom. The bell and its associated four lighted clock faces also automatically rang and kept the community
The bell carries the name of the school board members at that time: David Brown, President; John A. McCausland, Secretary; William Young, Treasurer; Harry Plance, Louis Chambon and Wayne Woodring. The name of the new school's building contractor, J. M. Andrews, also appears.
In anticipation of the old school building being razed the bell and clock were remove from the school's tower in the early 1970s. After removal they were then stored in various locations around town in hope of eventually building a new tower for their use. However, those efforts proved fruitless and it was finally decided to place the bell here in Heritage Park. The clock, unfortunately, was "mysteriously misplaced” and its whereabouts remains unknown!!
On 4 July 1976 the bell was featured during McDonald's National Bicentennial Celebration and then mounted here in Heritage Park on 31 July 1976. The "Old Bell” will always remain a classic piece of McDonald's long and proud history.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Education • Industry & Commerce.
Location. 40° 21.987′ N, 80° 14.445′ W. Marker is in McDonaldTouch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Mc Donald PA 15057, 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. Flowing Oil Well (a few steps from this marker); McDonald Oil Field (within shouting distance of this marker); Jay Livingston (approx. 0.3 miles away); George Washington (approx. 3.2 miles away); Oakdale Honor Roll (approx. 3.6 miles away); David Reed (approx. 3.9 miles away); Walker-Ewing Log House (approx. 5.3 miles away); William T. Kerr (approx. 5.7 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in McDonald.
Credits. This page was last revised on August 9, 2021. It was originally submitted on August 6, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. This page has been viewed 31 times since then. Photos: 1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on August 6, 2021, by TeamOHE of Wauseon, Ohio. • Bill Pfingsten was the editor who published this page.