Petrolia, ON (March 29, 2016) – The Town of Petrolia and Petrolia Heritage, in partnership with Lost Lambton, Found! and Fairbank Oil, will receive $10,000 under Lambton’s Creative County Fund. The program provides “financial assistance to local arts, culture and heritage projects” throughout the county.
A steering committee has been formed and is planning community-wide celebrations for “Petrolia150”. Steve Loxton, founder of the online local heritage group, Lost Lambton, Found!, says Petrolia150 will actually be a celebration of not one, but three historic events.
“Remarkably, three very important events all occurred within a single month in late 1866,” said Loxton. “Petrolia was officially made a village on December 13th. But, just three weeks earlier, on November 23rd, the famous King well gushed in at over 800 barrels a day!
“The King well helped start Petrolia’s first oil boom,” continued Loxton “Then, on December 17th, the railway spur, built by local citizens, was officially opened. A big party was held at the United States Hotel, celebrating the railway, the King well and the newly incorporated village.
“These were heady times for the booming new village and we hope to recreate some of that excitement with Petrolia150.”
The Petrolia150 committee’s plans include a mural and interpretive signs commemorating all three events. These will be unveiled at a big outdoor event on October 1st.
“The idea is to hold a big birthday party for the whole town, with food and entertainment and of course, birthday cake!”
There are also plans for historic displays, actors from the Petrolia Community Theatre in period dress, and more to be announced on a dedicated website, at www.Petrolia150.ca
A blog and Facebook group have been launched which will recount the events leading up to the anniversaries, over the course of 2016, posting them exactly 150 years later, in “real time”.
Fairbank Oil will also donate a vintage wooden oil well pump jack, that will be displayed near the site of the original King well on Discovery Line.
Charlie Fairbank, whose great grandfather, J.H. Fairbank, was involved in bringing the railway to Petrolia, emphasized the significance of the events being celebrated.
“It’s hard to overstate how important the combination of these three events were to the development of Petrolia and to the progress of the worldwide petroleum industry.
“In 1866, Petrolia became the oil capital of Canada and remained so for close to four decades,” stated Fairbank. “Local oil men took Petrolia technology and expertise around the world. They helped to open up oil fields on every continent. Many of those oil fields still produce to this day.
“That’s world class history that’s worth remembering and celebrating.”
For more information, visit Petrolia150.ca
Or, email: firstname.lastname@example.org
[images courtesy of Lambton County Archives]