The story of Pithole began in the spring of 1864 when Isaiah Frazier, James Faulkner Jr., Frederick W. Jones, and J. Nelson Tappan formed the United States Petroleum Company. The company soon leased 64 acres of the Holmden Farm on which they quickly built the “Wildcat Well.” Before the well was completed, Thomas G. Duncan and George C. Prather purchased the Holmden Farm for $25,000, with plans to sell it to the city of Philadelphia. However, their plans changed on January 7th, 1865, when the completed well began pumping out 250 barrels of oil a day. Overnight, stocks in the US Petroleum Co. skyrocketed from $6.25 to $40, generating enormous interest in the Pithole Creek Area. Duncan and Prather, seeing the possible gains, laid out 500 lots for a town, which they called Pithole City. The success of Frazier’s Wildcat Well brought a stampede of prospectors and entrepreneurs to the unfinished site of Pithole City. The first building of Pithole City began construction of May 24th, 1865. After just one week, Holmden Street, the main street of Pithole City, was lined with buildings under construction. Over the course of the next 90 days Pithole transformed from an empty plot of land to a bustling city of 15,000 inhabitants.
Unfortunately, Pithole’s success wouldn’t last. The death of Pithole began in the August of 1865 when the Homestead Well stopped producing. This shocked the town, causing prospectors to become wary of making investments in the land. In November, Frazier’s Wildcat Well quit flowing, cementing Pithole’s resident’s fears. Over the next few months, more and more wells stopped flowing. By January 1866, just one year after Frazier struck oil, the town was only producing 3,600 barrels a day. By December that number was down to 1,800. Once 1867 rolled around it was down to only 1,000. After pumping out a totally of 3,500,000 barrels of oil, Pithole City had be sucked dry. Seeing that there was no more money to be made, the prospectors and entrepreneurs packed their belongings and fled the city in droves, leaving the city abandoned. A series of fires destroyed much of the remnants of the Pithole City, and the surviving buildings were either torn down or relocated elsewhere. Today all that remains of Pithole City is a stone from foundation from the Methodist Church, and a grassy field.