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McDonald in Washington County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
 

McDonald Oil Field

 
 
McDonald Oil Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 18, 2012
1. McDonald Oil Field Marker
Inscription. Oil was first struck here in 1890, and in 1891 and 1892 the field yielded the highest levels of oil in the world. Second only in Pa. history to the Bradford Oil Field in both size and production, it was instrumental in achieving the state's highest ever annual oil output in 1891, 31,424,000 barrels. The wells achieving Pennsylvania's highest oil production rates, Mevey No. 1 and Mathews No. 1 were located within three miles of here.
 
Erected 2012 by Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.
 
Location. 40° 21.988′ N, 80° 14.464′ W. Marker is in McDonald, Pennsylvania, in Washington County. Marker is on West Lincoln Avenue (Pennsylvania Route 980) 0.1 miles west of 6th Avenue, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Located at Heritage Park near the McDonald Public Library. Marker is in this post office area: Mc Donald PA 15057, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 8 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Jay Livingston (approx. 0.3 miles away); George Washington (approx. 3.2 miles away); David Reed (approx. 3.9 miles away); Walker-Ewing Log House (approx. 5.3 miles away);
McDonald Oil Field Marker image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 18, 2012
2. McDonald Oil Field Marker
William T. Kerr (approx. 5.7 miles away); Neville House (approx. 7.7 miles away); Colonel George Morgan (approx. 7.8 miles away); Site of Burgett Home and Fort (approx. 7.9 miles away).
 
Categories. Industry & Commerce
 
McDonald Oil Field & The Old McDonald School Bell sign image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 18, 2012
3. McDonald Oil Field & The Old McDonald School Bell sign
Sign explaining the history of the McDonald oil field and the McDonald School bell in Heritage Park right near the marker.
McDonald Oil Field sign image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 18, 2012
4. McDonald Oil Field sign
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 Mevey #1 and The Mathews #1, located just East of town, are still recognized as the two greatest production rate wells in Pennsylvania and the Applachian Basin.
The McDonald Oil Field, approximately 10 miles long and 3 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 Oil Field, with its exceptionally high rate of oil production, was instrumental in Pennsylvania achieving its historic highest level of oil production of 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 McDonald School Bell sign image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 18, 2012
5. The Old McDonald School Bell sign
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 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 informed of the proper time throughout the day and night. The bell had a clear and mellow tone which could be heard for miles around.

The bell carries the name of the school board members at that time: David Brown, President; John A. McCausland, Secretary; William Yound, 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 removed from the school's tower in the early 1970's. 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 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.
The Old McDonald School Bell image. Click for full size.
By Mike Wintermantel, August 18, 2012
6. The Old McDonald School Bell
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on August 18, 2012, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. This page has been viewed 639 times since then and 45 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6. submitted on August 18, 2012, by Mike Wintermantel of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.
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