Muddy Creek Oil Well

Come See the Muddy Creek Oil Field in action. The Oil Field will be open from
11 a.m. until 5 p.m. on the following Saturdays in 2017:

June 10
July 8
August 12
September 9
October 14

Please check our Facebook page or send us an email before visiting the site, as it may be closed depending on weather or volunteer availability.

See this restored oil well in operation! The The Muddy Creek Oil Well #19 is an award-winning restoration site of an antique oil well. The Bessemer Gas Engine and Marshall-Barr No. 19 oil well equipment was restored and the site was first opened for visitors during the Lake Arthur Regatta in August of 2000.

Before Restoration

The photo above depicts the site as it appeared in 1995 prior to beginning restoration. This metal building, which contained the antique Bessemer engine, appeared to have little potential when volunteers first saw the site. For more than forty years, the engine had sat unused and deteriorating. Undaunted, the volunteers set to work removing vegetation, cutting down trees, and rebuilding the old corrugated steel engine house. Then, they began restoring the bessemer engine and other operating equipment. Continuing restoration and operation is conducted entirely by volunteers.

DCNR Award

This restoration was conducted by the park staff and volunteers, with private donations and assistance from the Pennsylvania Museum and Historical Society, Butler County Historical Society, and the Moraine, McConnells Mills, Jennings Commission

The Muddy Creek Oil Well site volunteers received the 2005 DCNR Bureau annual award from the Director of the PA State Parks. The award is granted each year for restoring a site and developing it into a valued State Park attraction.

Special opening can be arranged for groups by appointment. To schedule an appointment for your group visit call 724-285-5618.

We are looking for volunteers to help with greeting and guiding visitors. Call the Park Office if you'd like to help.


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.

The Muddy Creek Oil Field Today

Muddy Creek Oil Field

Restoration road view

View from the road

Bessemer engine


Restored Bessemer engine

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