Free Public Open Houses at Historic Properties During August

Both the Coal Oil Johnny House and the Tarbell House will host free public Open House events during August this year in the Oil Region National Heritage Area.  Reservations are not needed; all age groups are welcome to attend.

As part of the annual Oil Festival in Titusville, the 1870 Tarbell House located at 324 East Main Street in Titusville welcomes residents and travelers to visit and tour this Italianate home from noon until 4 p.m. on Saturday, August 12.  One of America’s foremost investigative journalists, Ida Tarbell resided here from 1870 through 1876 in this three-story house constructed by her father, and she always considered it as her family home and Titusville as her personality-shaping community.

Since being acquired by the nonprofit Oil Region Alliance in 2007, the Tarbell House has been rehabilitated to its outdoor and indoor appearance corresponding to the period from 1870 through 1918 when the Tarbell family lived here.  Guests during the Open House will be greeted with live music on the front lawn performed by “Venango Brigade,” featuring instrumental Civil War era songs.  Inside, guests will tour the first floor, second floor reading nook, and the new replica cupola on the third floor.

On Wednesday, August 16, the McClintock-Washington-Steele House (more commonly known as the Coal Oil Johnny House in light of the nickname of its most famous occupant) will be open for escorted tours from 1 until 4 p.m.  This circa 1850 two-story peg-n-post frame farmhouse was initially constructed on the west bank of Oil Creek by Johnny’s adopted father, Culbertson McClintock along what is today called Waitz Road; it was disassembled, transported, and reassembled with additional hidden reinforcements in 2001 by the Oil Region Alliance.  Today it sits on the east bank of Oil Creek slightly upstream, where it shares a parking lot with the Oil Creek & Titusville Railroad’s Rynd Farm Station at the south tip of Oil Creek State Park, just east of Route 8 on Old Waitz Road.

Tour guides and light refreshments will be provided at both of these historic properties during the Open Houses; book sales are available.  For more information or to schedule group tours on other dates, please contact Mrs. Marilyn Black, Vice President for Heritage Development, Oil Region Alliance, (814) 677-3152, Extension 105, mblack@oilregion.org.