Open house set for historic William H. Scheide House

The Oil Region Alliance of Business, Industry and Tourism will hold an open house from 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Nov. 15, at the William H. Scheide House, 221 N. Washington St., Titusville.

The first and second floors will be open for visitors to explore. Free refreshments will be provided.

“We are excited to open this nationally significant home for the community to witness the starting point of this extensive preservation project,” said John Phillips, president of the ORA.

This 1866 house was the residence of numerous families, culminating in its 1922-1959 occupancy by three generations of the Scheide family. The Scheide gentlemen were each employed as executives in several oil companies in northwestern Pennsylvania. They also shared an avid interest in collecting rare books, especially early Bibles and key documents from U.S. history.

When William H. Schedie was hired by his alma mater, Princeton University, as a music professor, he donated the family home to Titusville Area School District and relocated the collection of more than 2,500 rare books and manuscripts to Princeton’s Firestone Library, where the university replicated the home’s fireproof library wing.

William H. Scheide passed away at age 100 in 2014; his estate transferred ownership of the collection, then valued at more than $300 million, to Princeton, constituting the largest gift ever given to the university.

The school district gave Scheide House and its contents to the Titusville Historical Society in September. On the same day, the property and most items were transferred to the nonprofit Oil Region Alliance, which oversees the Oil Region National Heritage Area. After a phased rehabilitation based on a preservation plan, which is currently being prepared, this facility will become the Scheide Cultural Preservation Center.

RSVPs for the open house are requested by Tuesday, Nov. 13, to Emily Altomare at or 677-3152, ext. 110.