Steampunk Hands Around the World: Tidioute, PA

Image by Ray Dean. Stop by her page for more Steampunk Hands Around the World:

Steampunk Hands Around the World

Welcome to the Oil Region 

For my Steampunk Hands Around the World stop, I bring you steam’s “nail in the coffin." Welcome to the Oil Region and the birth of fossil fuel technology.

Oil Drilling Near Tidioute, PA 1800s

I was raised in northwestern Pennsylvania in a small town named Tidioute where petroleum was first discovered. Our neighboring village, Titusville, is always credited with the first successful petroleum dig, but it was in Tidioute where the first well was dug—the oilmen just missed the vein of oil by two feet. Regardless, Tidioute, PA became an important city in the petroleum revolution.

Hunter Mansion, Tidioute PA

While now just a quaint village along the Allegheny River, the 1800s version of Tidioute, PA would serve as a wonderful backdrop for a steampunk story. Though Tidioute now boasts a population of barely over 1000 people, it was once a mecca of oil and culture. 

Tidioute, PA Overlook
 In the 1800s, with a population of about 30,000 people, Tidioute, PA was flush with money. Early timber fortunes secured Tidioute families lavish Victorian and Italiante style homes, such as the impressive Hunter Mansion built by timber baron Jahu Hunter,  that line Main Street to this day. A hot spot along the rails, Tidioute once even boasted the ornate, 3-story Grandin Opera House. Famous troupes and performers would travel directly from New York City to Tidioute, PA to bring culture to a town now most famous for its annual fishing tournament. Even the troupe performing during the event of Abraham Lincoln’s assignation is noted for taking the stage at the Grandin Opera House.

Grandin Opera House Piano

What a perfect setting for a steampunk tale. With giants like Rockefeller kicking around chasing the liquid gold teeming just under the surface of the oil region, one can imagine crafty time-traveling protagonists engineering the demise of the oil industry before its inception. 

Learn more about Tidioute, PA here:

Want more Steampunk Hands Around the World? Stop by author Ray Dean's blog to check out more of the festivities!


  1. WOW, I thought Oklahoma had a lot of oil derricks. crystalbluern at onlineok dot com

    1. It's really something, right? The place is heavily wooded now. You can't believe your eyes when you see images of how the place looked just 200 years ago!