Oil City suffered the fate of many other Pennsylvania communities that were once driven by prominent industries. It was once the hub of the nation's oil production and home to major companies like Pennzoil and Quaker State. But the companies moved away and the days of Oil City's prosperity are gone. Oil City has had to find ways to reinvent itself. And it's chosen to embrace art—and artists.
Nowhere is there a better metaphor for Oil City's reinvention than the National Transit Building. Built in 1980, the building was once the headquarters of the National Transit Company, a subsidiary of John D. Rockefeller's Standard Oil. It boasts an ornate double staircase with wrought iron railings, stately woodwork, and giant windows.
And vaults. Many, many vaults.
Read the full version of this report at the website of Keystone Crossroads, a new statewide public media initiative reporting on the challenges facing Pennsylvania's cities. WPSU is a participating station.