Monday, April 18, 2011

A Year Older, a Year Wiser (Ammended)

Yours truly is now 46, as of 4/4/11. Robert Downey, Jr. and I share the same date of birth. So much for the trivia books! We spent the day in Chagrin Falls, Ohio, with our good friends Don and Lori Henderson and their daughter Eilish and son Reed.


We asked to go again to a beautiful spot called the Chagrin Falls. You can see its beauty in the photos to follow.


Sorry about the closed eyes. I really need picture-taking therapy!

Joel and Amelia really enjoyed playing with Reed and Eilish, who are both great with younger kids.

Don was away for part of our visit, but he returned in time to snap this picture. Amelia kept telling him that he wasn't smiling!

I got a really neat card from one of our supporting churches. It read: "Men of genius are admired; men of wealth are envied; men of power are feared; but only men of character are trusted." Amen and amen! May we all be people like that!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Titusville, PA

On April Fool's Day we headed to Titusville, PA (on the recommendation of Marisol's brother Wilo who is a petroleum engineer in Ecuador) to see the birthplace of the international oil industry.

In 1859 Edwin Drake struck oil and established the first successful oil well in western PA.

In the hands-on exhibit at the visitor's center Miss Kathy showed Amelia and Joel how to make plastic from borax, white school glue and water.

It came out kind of like Silly Putty.

Here is the original stone marker to commemorate the spot, dedicated by the Daughters of the American Revolution in 1914. It was moved to its current location in 1945.



The Farnsworth family poses in front and inside the building that shelters the Drake Well Replica. The original well and building were destroyed when the oil industry in that area dried up and there was no foresight to preserve it for posterity.

This is a replica of the Grant Oil Well Office where oil was struck in 1865.


Amelia and Joel demonstrate how the spring-pole drilling rig was operated using human driller strength at the drilling rate of three feet a day.








These are some vehicles from the oil transportation exhibit: "Moving Oil."

Oil Creek provided the means for transporting barrels of oil to towns in the area.



It is believed that these pits, over 200 of them still in existence, were used by Native Americans long ago to skim oil from the water that would gather it them. This last picture of the pits shows their depth.



Here is the Standard Steel drilling rig dating from 1920.

We also saw a portable drilling rig , mounted on wheels and drawn by a team of horses and designed by Linden Wolfe in 1920.


This is drilling and pumping machinery from the Northern Ordnance Company dating from the 1940s.

Here is a pump station that pumped crude oil through pipelines to refineries in Oil City and Franklin until 1968.

Here are some electric pumping jacks by John Hawley on display.


We ended our visit to Titusville at Woodlawn Cemetery and the memorial to Colonel Drake, featuring a sculture called The Driller by Charles Henry Niehaus.

Here are the panels from the memorial:

"Colonel E.L. Drake, born at Greenville NY March 29, 1819, died at Bethlehem PA November 8, 1880, Founder of the petroleum industry, the friend of man"

"Called by circumstances to the solution of a great mining problem he triumphantly vindicated American skill and near this spot laid the foundation of an industry"

"That has enriched the state, benefited mankind, stimulated the mechanic arts, enlarged the pharmacopceia and has attained worldwide proportions"

"He sought for himself not wealth nor social distinction, content to let others follow where he led, at the threshold of his fame he retired to end his days in quieter pursuits"

"His highest ambition was the successful accomplishment of his task, his noble victory the conquest of the rock, bequeathing to posterity the fruits of his labor and of his industry"

"His last days, oppressed by ills--to want no stranger he died in comparative obscurity, this monument is erected by Henry H. Rogers (Standard Oil executive) in grateful recognition and remembrance"

Home School on the Road


We spent the weekend with friends in Ohio. On Monday we still did home school, just not in our home but in theirs.

Awana Culture Night


Amelia and her friend Faith donned Chinese garb for Awana Culture Night!

The Return of Winter




More snow, even though it's spring!