A little known battle between Railroad Workers and Pipe Layers in Ohara Twp. which changed how Oil would be transported across the country

As a young man I had a fantastic Biology teacher  in Carrick High School named Barbra Novasol and over time became very good friends with her as we both had an interest in Rocks and Minerals and I often spent time at her gentleman's farm in Ohara twp  also known as Montrose Hill  and Powers run  helping to maintain it in the summer time, and she often spoke of a battle at the bottom of Powers Run Road and Freeport Road  Old Pa 28   between the railroad and Oil Pipe Layers which appears to have been very violent  and is discussed in the excerpt below
In a book published by Dan Nowak

An Incomplete Historical Survey
Montrose Hill, O’Hara Township,
Allegheny County, PA
and the
Surrounding Area
Powers Run Area, RIDC Area, River Road Area, Blawnox
Area and lands downstream as far as Aspinwall.
Dan Nowak

Finally, there was the incident that took place at the foot of what is now Powers Run
Road that helped shape the way oil was delivered to the refineries from the oil field in
Pennsylvania. As George S. Davidson wrote and delivered as a speech entitled “Pittsburgh and

the Petroleum Industry” to the Pittsburgh Chamber of Commerce and is documented in the
publication “Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh Spirit, Addresses at the Chamber of Commerce of
Pittsburgh, 1927-1928”, page 97, as follows:
“As already related, pipelines were first used in the oil region to replace teaming. They
were of two and two and a half inches diameter, and but a few miles in length. After the railroads
had built their lines into the main valleys of the oil fields, more ambitious pipe lines were built for
the purpose of delivering the crude oil direct from the wells to the cars. The success of these
local ventures eventually suggested the idea of building pipe lines of larger diameter and much
greater length that would compete with the railroads and carry the oil directly from field to
refineries. As methods of terminal operation, the railroads welcomed the pipe lines, and in many
cases owned them. But as competitors they opposed them, which for a long time they managed
to do successfully, because this new service was not recognized as a public utility and did not
possess the right of condemnation of land. The approach of a pipeline to the crossing of a
railroad meant a legal battle. A pipeline of much interest to this community was the Columbia
Conduit Pipe Line, under the control of Dr. Hostetter of this city, planned to bring oil from the
Butler county fields to Pittsburgh. The line was built in late 1874. The General Pipe Line Act of
Pennsylvania, conferring the right of condemnation was not enacted until 1883, some nine years
too late for use by this enterprise. When the line reached a point upon the West Penn Division of
the Pennsylvania railroad above Montrose, Allegheny county, and an attempt was made to lay its
line under the railroad in the bed of Powers run, its workers were met with a large force of
railroad employes, armed with all sorts of weapons both offensive and defensive, and the ‘Powers
Run Riot’ passed into history as one of the outstanding incidents of the oil industry. The pipe line
company appealed to the courts in vain for relief, but six months later the interested companies
settled their dispute, the line was put in operation, and the delivery of 3,000 barrels a day to the
Pittsburgh refineries was accomplished by means of it.”
Unfortunately, Mr. Davidson did not mention the extent of battle casualties from this
encounter. It would appear that the railroaders had the better of the situation and, most likely, the
pipeline men backed off after a short engagement. Any locals that were involved were most
likely working for the railroad, while the pipeline men were probably all outsiders.

Seems Ohara and Blawknox also known at times as  Fairview , Montrose and Hoboken  where big players in the oil business back then and Sunoco still maintains a oil distributions facility along the road from their pipeline .

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