National Heritage Area

(814) 677-3152

217 Elm Street

Oil City, PA 16301-1412


The four hundred year anniversary celebration of Columbus discovering America was held a year late, 1893, in Chicago. As was the custom at such expositions, each state would construct a building on the grounds for visitors to admire and tour. A number of states erected buildings of residential scale that looked back to both Greek Revival architecture and Classical Revival architecture for design precedents. Several of these Columbian Exposition structures were given porches with two-story high roofs supported by classical columns. Some of these porch roofs were in the form of the classical Greek pediment. Others were semicircular, flat and decorated with a balustrade. Second floor porch decks in some cases were constructed behind these two story columns. Some of these Chicago structures were given small wings to either side of the main mass. All of these buildings were classical in form and detail. They were quite popular and served as the source for a Neoclassical architecture which spread around the country after the Chicago Exposition.

The house at 634 Adelaide Avenue in the Miller Park section of Franklin (See Left) is an excellent , complete example of the Neoclassical architecture of the late 1890's and very early 1900's.

The house is clearly symmetrical and classical in mass and plan. Note the subordinate wings to both sides of the main volume. The semicircular porch roof is supported by massive two-story columns with Ionic capitals. A second floor porch deck is located inside the columns. Classical balustrades run to both sides of the front facade and define a terrace looking down on Adelaide Avenue.

The Issac Shank House at 118 West Main Street in Titusville (See Right) is an interesting example of Colonial Revival form and historical detail set off by a massive Neoclassical porch.

Issac Shank built this house in 1906. He was a long time merchant and owned a very successful lumber yard in Titusville. The classical cornice about the main roof with its heavy modillions and dentil molding is carried out and around the two-story porch roof. The heavy porch roof is supported by four large scale columns with decorative balustrades added at the walls for Neoclassical emphasis. Note the very deep Greek Revival entablature above the columns. A second floor porch deck is suspended inside the columns. The entranceway is surrounded by sidelights and a fanlight above. This entranceway, themultipaned windows with their rigid ranking in the front facade, the lintel and building corner treatment, all served to create an antiquarian Colonial Revival strong enough to stand alone. The Neoclassical porch treatment was not necessary but did add to the architectural interest.

The big house at the top of the hill at 701 N. Perry in Titusville (See Left) incorporates a two-story semicircular porch supported by massive columns.

This porch is situated to the front of what is fundamentally a replica of Adam architecture. A second floor porch deck is suspended inside the columns. This home was constructed by John L. Emerson around 1908. John Emerson was one of Edward Octavius Emerson’s sons. E. O. Emerson made a fortune in both early oil production and, later, in a natural gas partnership with J. N. Pew, founder of Sun Oil.

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