Muddy Creek Oil Field
222 Camelot Road
Portersville, PA 16051
URL: Muddy Creek Oil Field
Historic oil well demonstrations scheduled throughout the summer and fall.
This original oil well site has been preserved and restored within Moraine State Park. The mechanism is powered by a one cylinder Bessemer gas engine now runs on propane which pulls the rod lines through a “Bessemer #2 Power” just like the old days.
The exhibit is open to the public and operating on seasonal demonstration days. Access to the well site can be obtained by taking Old Route 422 west from the Prospect interchange and proceeding about ½ a mile beyond the DCNR District Office and boat launch area parking lot.
A brief history
Pennsylvania crude was first discovered in the Muddy Creek Field of Butler County on the Dan Shanor Farm, next to this property, approximately two miles northwest of Prospect Borough, in 1890. For over seven decades the oil industry prospered here until the 1960’s when the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania built Moraine State Park. Muddy Creek is the main source of water for Lake Arthur in Moraine State Park.
The oil field is bounded on the north by what is now Nealy’s Point, Davis Hollow and Baird Point and covered the area southward to Muskrat Cove and the northern properties of Prospect Borough. Historical data shows that over 242 oil wells were drilled by 16 different owners, or leasers, on more than 1500 acres of land, some of which are now beneath the waters of Lake Arthur. The well sites were closed and filled during the construction of the lake and Moraine State Park. One site was plugged, circa 1966, and retained for constructing a demonstration well at the location of the Marshall/Barr tract and #19 well site. Well #19 was one of 38 operating wells on the Marshall-Ball property of approximately 150 acres.
The oil well, engine house and most of its original equipment were retained and, after many years of weathering, were restored and re-installed on the original site. Included, from the oil field of yesteryear, is a Bessemer Type OC Gas Engine, with belt driven power transmission equipment, operating four well head pumping jacks, including one over the original Barr #19 well. From the wells, the crude oil was pumped into wooden tubs, located at each pumping site, and then transferred by pipelines to holding tanks of the National Transit Company, located at the Liesy pumping station along old Whippoorwill Hill road, now under the waters of Lake Arthur. The crude oil was then transferred through another pipeline to a transfer station near Carbon Center east of Butler, PA. From there the oil was sent to refineries at East Butler. Karns City, Cleveland and through a 4″ pipeline to a refinery at Brilliant near Pittsburgh.