Bradford Oil Field mural

Isabelle Champlin and Samila Sosic are shown while working on a mural, created in celebration of the 150th anniversary of the discovery of oil in the Bradford Field, as well as the 50th anniversary of the founding of the Penn Brad Oil Museum in 1971.

With the 150th anniversary of the discovery of oil in the Bradford Field coming up, and the 50th anniversary of the Penn Brad Oil Museum, two local artists found this an ideal time to bring history to life in art form at the museum.

Isabelle Champlin and Samila Sosic worked together to create a mural which is triangular in shape and consists of three panels which together are 28 feet wide. The mural spans one upper wall of the museum gift shop.

“It is a composite panorama, depicting the growth of the oil industry in the Bradford Field, from the Job Moses Well of 1865 to the water flooding innovations of the 1920s and 1930s,” Champlin said.

She explained that the process began in December of 2020, when Champlin and Sosic first met to start brainstorming and gathering ideas for inclusion in the mural. The majority of their inspiration came from old photographs.

Old photographs were the inspiration for most of the images, which include images of a gusher well, The Job Moses well, derricks and oil storage tanks, a burning oil tank, barrel wagons, Nitroglycerin buggies, pipe wagons and the Mather photography buggy. The BB&K (Bradford, Bordell and Kinzua) railroad, the village of Tarport from Mt. Bolivar, the town of Bradford from Mt. Raub, and Kendall Refining Company are also among the images the two artists gathered to use for the mural.

Some of the named buildings, oil tanks, etc. in the mural include:

1. Livery stables: ‘Beamer Livery’

2. Producer #1: ‘L. Emery & East Foster Farm 1862’ (on a storage tank),

3. Producer #2: ‘Job Moses No. 1’ on a derrick

4. Engine manufacturer #1: ‘Bovaird & Seyfang’ (sign on a rooftop)

5. Manufacturer #2: ‘Locke Machine Works’ on roof, with ‘Pumps, Engines and Brass Works’ on the side.

6. Explosive factory: ‘Roberts Nitroglycerin Factory’ (sign on the side of a building)

7. Pipe company: ‘Boston Tubing and Steam Pipe’ (on a roof sign).

8. Equipment company: ‘Oil Well Supply Co.’ (on roof).

9. “A free and easy”: “Hogan’s” (sign on a building in Tarport)

10. Field offices: Hillside Oil, and Minard Run Oil Co. (also with sign ‘Music Mountain 1937’)

11. Hotel: Bradford House ( on rooftop, 1877)

12. Railroad: BB&K (Bradford, Bordell and Kinzua) engine but the lettering is not visible

13. Photographer: ‘Mather Photography, Titusville, PA’ (on a buggy)

14. Refinery: ‘Kendall Refining Co.’ (sign on the top of a building -1881)

The dedication of the new mural will be at the Penn Brad Oil Museum at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

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