(pop. 8,770) is the largest city in McKean County (pop. 43,450) and has an urban cluster population of 13,169. Adjacent to the NY-PA border and just west of the Allegheny National Forest, Bradford resides in the narrow Tuna Valley in a region rich with oil and natural gas. The city is located about 90 minutes south of Buffalo along US-219, which serves as a major corridor connecting Ontario to the Eastern Seaboard of the U.S., despite its two-lane status for most of its route.
Chartered as a city in 1879, Bradford grew rapidly as an oil boomtown. The Pennsylvania Grade crude in the area is renowned for its high quality and purity, and is refined into lubricants and racing oils (Kendall). Bradford's population peaked in 1940 at 17,000. Today, it is still an important regional center for employment in the "Twin Tiers Region" (HQ of Zippo lighters and Case knives, University of Pittsburgh branch campus, American Refining Group oil refinery). Bradford retains impressive downtown commercial structures and breathtaking Victorian homes, a legacy of the city's aspirations during the boom times.
former city hall
current city hall
love this firehouse
old Carnegie Library... converted into Beefeaters... a popular restaurant serving the regional specialty... beef on weck
phalanx of dreary public housing with the School St. School in the distance
ARG oil refinery is on the north side of town