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Andrew Carnegie and the Columbia Oil Farm
William Story Farm
The New Pittsburgh Owners
Columbia Farm
Carnegie's First Visit to Oildom
Carnegie's Pond
The Columbia Oil Company
Brass Band
The Earnings
Wells and Operations
Carnegie's Departure
Trivia (?)
Concluding Remarks

Brass Band

There was great pride in being an employee of the Columbia Oil Company. In one way this was expressed by the organization of a Columbia Cornet Band in flashy uniforms. The musicians were oil field workers except for the band leader who was a professional import. No doubt Columbia – The Gem of the Ocean (written 1843) was in the repertoire. The drum major, resplendent in uniform and wearing a hat taller than the others, handled the baton in military fashion and led the marching band on parade. Surely the reader can see him.

As in the refrain, Columbia’s “mandates make heroes assemble”, perhaps a brass band could one day play again on the Farm and let the hearty music reverberate from the valley walls?

The brassy sounds of cornets, trumpets, tuba, euphonium and valve trombone along with the staccato of the snare and the boom of the bass drums echoed in the Valley when occasions demanded. The mighty sound of the Columbia Oil Company band filled one’s chest. All could march or thrill to these musical summons. And the player’s uniforms! What a sight to behold! Afterwards, the musicians would change to their oil man’s working garb and return to their duties at the drilling rigs, engine houses and pumps in the Farm’s production area.
This photo shows the Columbia Farm band, dressed in glory in 1864. Oh, if it could only play again! Photo: Princeton University Press.

© 2004, Samuel T. Pees
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