Aug. 03--TITUSVILLE -- Drake Well Museum is celebrating the role that women played in preserving oil region history.
A special program Saturday will commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Daughters of the American Revolution monument that first marked the site of Edwin Drake's 1859 oil well.
The Canadohta DAR chapter acquired the well site and an acre of surrounding land in 1913 from Susan Emery, the widow of David Emery, another petroleum industry pioneer.
Ida Horner, owner of a granite and marble company in Titusville, was hired by the DAR to mark the site with a memorial. She found a towering, 30-ton sandstone boulder in the area and had it moved to the well site. An attached bronze plaque reads: "This native boulder marks the plot where through the foresight, energy and persistence of Edwin L. Drake the first well was drilled for oil. On August 27, 1859, oil was found at a depth of sixty-nine feet. This great discovery inaugurated the petroleum industry."
The monument was dedicated in 1914, on the 55th anniversary of Drake's well. The DAR later donated the monument and property to the state.
"We are very pleased to join the DAR's Piety Hill Chapter in celebrating the significant role these visionary women played to help create what would become Drake Well Museum and Park," said Melissa Mann, site administrator at Drake Well Museum.
The DAR's Canadohta chapter no longer exists. The Michigan-based Piety Hill chapter will lead Saturday's centennial celebration. Chapter member Pamela Robertson is the great-great-granddaughter of Susan and David Emery.
Robertson will attend Saturday's centennial celebration. Another descendant, Robert Fleming, the couple's great-great-grandson, will help rededicate the DAR monument at 2 p.m.
"The DAR promotes historical preservation and education, and at Drake Well took the initiative to preserve the site where the oil industry began," chapter Regent Christine Richman said. "We're very happy to honor what they did."
Also featured in Saturday's centennial celebration will be a special exhibit of photographs, paintings and artifacts pertaining to the DAR monument, and demonstrations of fashions, games and activities considered appropriate for 19th- and early 20th-century women.
The celebration, scheduled for 1 to 5 p.m., is a featured event of Titusville's annual Oil Festival. Drake Well Museum admission for the event is $10 for adults, $8 for seniors and $5 for children through age 11. The family rate, for up to two adults and three children, is $20.
VALERIE MYERS can be reached at 878-1913 or by e-mail. Follow her on Twitter at twitter.com/ETNmyers.
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