Oil Boom on Display

History Museum exhibit opens Saturday

Morgantown Dominion Post
14 September 2012

As drilling rigs spring up throughout the region in the Marcellus shale natural gas plain, a new exhibit opening Saturday at the Morgantown History Museum recalls the late 19th century when Monongalia County faced an oil drilling boom.

This period in county history is highlighted in the Eureka Pipeline Co. Exhibit, a selection of photographs donated to the museum from the estate of a former Eureka Pipe Line Co. employee.

Drilling was done at the point where Cobun Creek enters the Monongahela River, off Don Knotts Boulevard — roughly White Park and University Motors.

The free exhibit is open from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday.

On display are pictures showing pump station buildings, employees and the oil tank field along Cobun Creek.

Crude oil was first struck northwest of Morgantown on Dolls Run in 1889.

The site quickly developed into a highly productive oil field. In 1890, 24 wells produced 1,800 barrels of crude oil a day.

Eureka, chartered as a subsidiary of the Standard Oil Co. in West Virginia, operated in Morgantown from 1890 until about 1940.

It connected local pipeline systems to trunk lines to move crude oil from this area across the mountains to refineries in the east using a series of pump stations and storage tanks.