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Venango County is a county located in the U.S. state of Pennsylvaniamarker. As of the 2000 census, the population was 57,565. Its county seat is Franklinmarker .

History

Venango County was created on March 12, 1800 from parts of Alleghenymarker and Lycomingmarker Counties. The origination of the name "Venango" comes from as it was known to Native Americans of the region as Onenge, meaning Otter. This was corrupted into English as the Venango River. The settlement at its mouth was likewise called Venango, and is the site of present-day Franklin, Pennsylvaniamarker.

Venango County was home to an oil boom in the years following discovery of natural oil (petroleum) in the mid 1850s.

George Bissell, a Yale Universitymarker Chemistry professor, and Edwin L. Drake, a former railroad conductor, made the first successful use of a drilling rig on August 28, 1859 near Titusville, Pennsylvaniamarker. (Although Titusville is in Crawford County, the first oil well was drilled outside of town, less than a mile inside of the Venango County boundary.) This single well soon exceeded the entire cumulative oil output of Europe since the 1650s. Within weeks oil derricks were erected all over the area. Other oil boom towns located in Venango County included Franklin, Oil City, and the now defunct Pit Hole City. The principal product of the oil was kerosene.

McClintocksville was a small community in Cornplanter Townshipmarker in Venango County. In 1861, it was the location of Wamsutta Oil Refinery, the first business venture of Henry Huttleston Rogers, who became a leading United Statesmarker capitalist, businessman, industrialist, financier, and philanthropist. Rogers and his young wife Abbie Palmer Gifford Rogers lived in a one room shack there along Oil Creek for several years beginning in 1862.

Shortly later, Rogers met oil pioneer Charles Pratt who purchased the entire output of the tiny Wamsutta Oil Refinery. In 1867, Rogers joined Pratt in forming Charles Pratt and Company, which was purchased by Standard Oil in 1874. Rogers became one of the key men in John D. Rockefeller’s Standard Oil Trust.

After joining Standard Oil, Rogers invested heavily in various industries, including copper, steel, mining, and railways. The Virginian Railway is widely considered his final life's achievement. Rogers amassed a great fortune, estimated at over $100 million, and became one of the wealthiest men in the United States. He was also a generous philanthropist, providing many public works for his hometown of Fairhaven, Massachusettsmarker, and financially assisting helping such notables as Mark Twain, Helen Keller, and Dr. Booker T. Washington.

Perhaps in one of history's ironies, another resident of Venango County about the same time as Henry and Abbie Rogers was a little girl named Ida M. Tarbell, whose father was an independent producer whose small business was ruined by the South Improvement Company scheme of 1871 and the conglomerate which became Standard Oil. Introduced to each other in 1902 by their mutual friend Mark Twain, Tarbell who had become an investigative journalist and Rogers, who knew of her work, shared meetings and information over a two year period which led to her epoch work, The History of the Standard Oil Company, published in 1904, which many historians feel helped fuel public sentiment against the giant company and helped lead to the court-ordered break-up of it in 1911.

The oil heritage of Venanago County is remembered by a Pennsylvania State Park and many heritage sites which help tell the story and memorialize the people of the oil boom of the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

Geography

According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 683 square miles (1,769 km²), of which, 675 square miles (1,748 km²) of it is land and 8 square miles (21 km²) of it (1.17%) is water.

Adjacent counties



Significant Topographic features

French Creekmarker is formed near French Creek, New Yorkmarker and extends for a length of 117 miles (188 km) with a drainage area of 1,270 square miles (3,289 km²). It joins the Allegheny River near Franklin, Pennsylvaniamarker. The watershed area includes parts of Eriemarker, Crawfordmarker, Venangomarker, and Mercermarker Counties in Pennsylvania as well as Chautauqua County, New Yorkmarker.

Demographics

Age pyramid for Venango County based on census 2000 data
As of the census of 2000, there were 57,565 people, 22,747 households, and 15,922 families residing in the county. The population density was 85 people per square mile (33/km²). There were 26,904 housing units at an average density of 40 per square mile (15/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 97.64% White, 1.09% Black or African American, 0.18% Native American, 0.23% Asian, 0.02% Pacific Islander, 0.17% from other races, and 0.67% from two or more races. 0.52% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race. 33.0% were of German, 12.7% Irish, 12.2% Americanmarker, 8.6% English, 5.7% Polish and 5.3% Italian ancestry according to Census 2000.

There were 22,747 households out of which 30.40% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 55.80% were married couples living together, 9.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.00% were non-families. 26.20% of all households were made up of individuals and 12.50% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 2.93.

In the county, the population was spread out with 24.20% under the age of 18, 7.20% from 18 to 24, 26.70% from 25 to 44, 25.10% from 45 to 64, and 16.80% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40 years. For every 100 females there were 95.40 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.10 males.

In the 2004 United States presidential election, voters registered in Venango County cast 9,024 (38.1%) ballots for Kerry, 14,472 (61.2%) for Bush, and 163 (0.7%) for "other".

Law And Government

Pennsylvania State Senate



Pennsylvania House of Representatives



United States House of Representatives



Municipalities

Map of Venango County, Pennsylvania with Municipal Labels showing Cities and Boroughs (red), Townships (white), and Census-designated places (blue).
Under Pennsylvania law, there are four types of incorporated municipalities: cities, boroughs, townships, and, in at most two cases, towns. The following cities, boroughs and townships are located in Venango County:

Cities

Boroughs

Townships



Census-designated places

Census-designated places are geographical areas designated by the U.S. Census Bureau for the purposes of compiling demographic data. They are not actual jurisdictions under Pennsylvania law. Other unincorporated communities, such as villages, may be listed here as well.

Industry and commerce

Major employers

Pennzoil and Quaker State left the Venango area for Texas. After leaving the area they merged and stopped refining oil. They now concentrate on retail oil and automotive additives produced for them by other companies. As of 2007, the two companies only exist as brand names after the company disappeared because of successive mergers.

With global crude oil prices touching US $100 in early 2008, long-dormant interest reawakened in Venango County's remaining oil reserves, 70% undrilled by one estimate. High prices make less accessible oil deposits worth extracting. For instance, a Canadian firm proposed drilling several large mines and allowing oil to flood the tunnels.



Other major employers are Government (at all levels) and Walmart.

Venango Area Chamber of Commerce

Transportation



Education

250 px

Public school districts



Partial districts

These public school districts are only partially in Venango County:

Colleges and universities



Sports and recreation

Pennsylvania State Parks and Forests

Attractions and Tourism



Venango Area Chamber of Commerce

Notable residents



Popular Culture

Popular Michigan band, Chance Jones, references Venango County in their 2007 hit Venango County

See also



External links



References




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