Churches. - Methodist Episcopal. - The Methodist was the first organized denomination in Clarion. In 1840 Mr.
John R. Clover formed a society of this church here. Strattanville was the name of the circuit of appointments,
and Mr. R. Peck was the preacher. Still it is supposed Dr. James Goe (the first prothonotary) who was a local preacher,
first preached for the Methodists of Clarion. Before the jail was finished the house of Mr. Jesse Teats, on Wood
street, now occupied by Samuel Pickens, and the Thomas school house, now A. G. Corbett's Main street residence,
were the places of assembly. In July, 1841, the appointment received conference recognition, and H. N. Sterns was
appointed pastor. A lot was purchased in 1842 from Jno. N. Purviance, for $300, and in 1844 a brick structure was
formally dedicated. The revivals of 842, 1850, and 1851, were marked periods in the history of this church. The
church was incorporated December 5, 1851. The trustees named in the articles of incorporation are James Goe, John
Beck, Miles Beatty, Enoch Alberson, Peter Conver, E. W. Everding, Jno. A. McCloskey, Samuel Whisner, George Dale.
Present membership 13o communicants. The old building has become antiquated and a new church which will cost from
$12,000 to $12,000 is projected. For this purpose the lot at the corner of Wood street and Sixth avenue has been
purchased from L. Guth. The following have been the pastors of this church since its beginning here: H. N. Sterns,
J. Graham, J. W. Klock, S. C. Churchill, J. W. Hill, D. H. Jack, J. K. Hallock, R. M. Bear, W. F. Wilson, W. F.
Day, E. B. Lane, J. R. Lyon, J. T. Boyle, N. G. Luke, D. S. Steadman, T. P. Warner, J. J. Bently, T. Graham, R.
F. Keeler, D. A. Crowell, S. S. Stuntz, W. F. Warren, E. R. Knapp, C. C. Hunt, O. M. Sackett, C. Wilson, M. Miller,
H. Henderson, W. H. Mossman, C. M. Darrow, B. F. Delo, present pastor.
Presbyterian. - The Presbyterian Church at Clarion was organized in the upper story of the jail building, May 15,
1841, by Revs. J. Core and D. Polk, the former of Licking church, the latter of Brookville. Sixteen members were
present; Hugh A. Thompson, Thomas Sutton, and John Clark were installed as presiding elders. In 1844 the church
building was completed. Rev. James Montgomery had been called to this ministry in February, 1842; Mr. Montgomery
was an exceptionally pious, amiable and scholarly pastor. He continued to officiate till January, 1868, when his
failing health compelled him to resign. He died August 10, 1871. The present pastor, Rev. James S. Elder, took
charge February 28, 1868. Mr. Elder is a native of Elder's Ridge, Indiana county, a graduate of Jefferson College,
and previous to his installation here had filled the pastorate of the Greenville and Corsica churches. The present
parsonage was secured in 1870. Some valuable improvements and additions to the church property were made of late
years. In 1884 a pipe organ and stained windows were put in, and in the succeeding year a water motor was attached
to the organ. The membership is 176. In connection with this church are the Women's Missionary (Foreign and Domestic)
Society, and the Young Ladies' American Missionary Society, organized in 1873, and 1872; both are in active existence.
For the past year the former expended $500 in missionary work.
Roman Catholic. - St. Mary's Immaculate Conception Church. In 1842 there was a mere handful of Catholics in the
town, and their spiritual wants were first ministered to by Rev. Joseph Cody of Sugar Creek, Armstrong county,
who came once every two or three months, and held divine service in the private houses of various members of the
church. Subsequently this mission was successively supplied by Rev. Fathers Kleineidam, Brown, Gallagher, Skopez;
and finally in 1846, P. Hoy was sent out as the first resident pastor. Clarion, however, was only the central of
a number of outlying missions which he attended. Father Hoy becoming enfeebled, his place was taken by Rev. Jos.
F. Deane, June, 1847. In the early part of 1850 Rev. James Slattery succeeded Mr. Deane as pastor here and at the
"Wilderness," in Farmington township. During this pastorate the church was erected on a lot donated by
the proprietors of the land at the instance of General Levi G. Clover, and conveyed by the commissioners, January
8, 1841, to Bishop Kenrick, of the See of Philadelphia, in trust for the future congregation. The church property
was afterwards enlarged by the gift of an adjoining lot by J. C. Reid. Exclusive of furniture, the cost of the
church was $2,500. On Sunday, June the 15th, 1856, the structure was dedicated by Right Rev. Josue M. Young, of
Erie. Father Slattery having gone to the West, the church was attended for three or four years by priests from
other points, among whom were Revs. Ledwith, A. Skopez and Mollinger. The latter was relieved of Clarion in August,
1860, by Rev. John Koch, as permanent pastor and visitor for the Wilderness, Voglebachers, Sligo and other points.
Under Fr. Koch's administration the church, previously almost bare, was pretty thoroughly furnished with pews,
organ, bells, etc. Rev. H. A. Deckenbrock, a native of Westphalia, Prussia, arrived here September 1, 1876. No
outside congregation was included in his charge. Under his direction the parsonage was built, the church extended,
stained glass windows put in, and an elegant new altar purchased. An imposing front extension is to be executed
in 1888. The congregation numbers about five hundred souls.
Baptist. - The Reidsburg Church, of which Rev. Thomas E. Thomas was minister, was the nearest place of worship
for the few Baptists of the early town. About thirty years ago there was an attempt at Baptist organization here,
but it proved only partially successful. Amos Myers, Samuel Frampton, C. E. Beman, and Nicholas Shanafelt were
its promoters. There was occasional preaching in the upper story of the bank building by Rev. ____ Wolf, and other
foreign clergymen. A Sunday school was formed which met in the same room. In the course of a few years, on the
death and departure of some of the leading spirits, the movement died out. In 1875 a reorganization was effected,
and in 1876 a new edifice erected at the cost of $9,000, on a lot donated by Rev. Amos Myers. For some years the
place could only support a pastor at half time. The resident pastors have been Revs. Swigart, Snyder, Shoemaker,
and A. J. King. The membership is one hundred.
Schools. - Education received early attention in the infant burgh. The first common school, a free one was opened
in the autumn of 1841, in the house of its teacher, B. H. Thomas, which stood on the lot now occupied by A. G.
Corbett's residence on Main street. School was held only during the winter term; the balance of the year the house
was used as the temporary academy. In 1845 a small one room structure, the "White School House," was
built on lot No. 21, fronting on South street. It stood near the upper end of the lot, and was approached from
Fifth avenue. The building is now used as a dwelling. School was held here till 1827, and then transferred to the
The academy became dilapidated, unsightly, as well as too small, and after a great deal of agitation, the citizens
of the town, by popular vote, decided to erect a new school house. On September 6, 1885, the contract for a three
storied brick building was awarded to S. S. Wilson, at $15,000. School was opened in the winter of 1886, with Prof.
Yingling, principal, and all the pupils from school No. 2, the engine house, transferred to the new building. The
structure is a very creditable one, and the architecture on the whole is pleasing. It contains ten rooms.
In 1865 the first Catholic school was held in the sacristy of the church; Miss Allebach was its teacher. The front
of the school house was erected in 1829, and the rear in 1878. Lay instructors were employed till 1876, when the
Benedictine Sisters took charge of the school, and have remained ever since.
Clarion Academy was incorporated by an act of Assembly June 12, 1840, with Amos Williams, Hugh Maguire, Lindsay
C. Pritner, Robert Potter, Geo. B. Hamilton, Peter Clover, sr., John H. Groce, William B. Fetzer, and Charles Evans,
trustees. The treasurer, Judge Evans, received $2,000 as a State appropriation. Lots Nos. 45 and 46 were purchased
from the first regular commissioners for $202.50. Early in 1841 Lyon and Thompson received the building contract
for $1,800. The building was not completed ready for use till January, 1843; in the mean time the sessions were
held in B. H. Thomas's frame school house. Beside the ordinary branches, Latin and some of the higher mathematics
were embraced in the school's curriculum. Rev. Robert W. Orr was the first principal; he was succeeded by James
V. Reid in 1845. In that year the annual State appropriations were discontinued, and the academy, unable to support
itself; ceased to exist. The building was utilized for various purposes; select school, lodge rooms, etc., till
1867, when it was converted to the use of the common schools.
The Clarion Female Seminary began in 1843, in an humble frame structure on Fifth avenue, previously a tailor shop,
now the kitchen of the old B. J. Reid homestead. Miss Stebbins, a sister in law of attorney John B. Butler, was
its first teacher; Thomas M. Jolly was president of the board of trustees. The institution failed to realize the
expectations of its projectors, and after a couple of terms the Clarion Female Seminary became a thing of the past.
Carrier Seminary and the Normal School. 1866 being the centennial year of American Methodism, the Erie Conference
determined to commemorate it by the inauguration of two educational institutions under the patronage of the church;
one at Randolph, N. Y., and the other at Clarion, Pa. Rev. R. M. Bear was appointed financial agent to solicit
donations. The first board of trustees was elected by the contributors March 18, 1867, and were George W. Arnold,
Samuel Wilson, Jacob Black, John Keatly, James Ross, M. D., Hiram Carrier, Nathan Carrier, jr., David Lawson, William
Young, James B. Knox, Hutchman Torrence, John D. Coax, Nathan Myers, Martin Kearney, John R. Strattan. The cornerstone
was laid June 16, 1868, and the building, a massive three storied brick structure, sixty feet wide by one hundred
and ten in length, completed in the fall of 1871. The grounds comprised ten acres. The total cost, inclusive of
furniture, was about $75,000. In the mean time the school had been organized in the old academy building. The name
Carrier Seminary was adopted in honor of the Carrier family, who agreed to donate $6,000 for the building. The
first term of Carrier Seminary was opened September 10, 1867, with Rev. J. G. Townsend as principal, who remained
one year. He was succeeded by Rev. S. Stuntz, who remained at the head of the school two years; in the fall of
1870 Miss E. J. Haldeman became principal, remaining one year. The fall term of 1871 opened in the new building,
Prof. J. J. Steadman, principal. The institution started out prosperously, but after a few years a decline set
in, from which it never revived.
In 1874 some of the leading citizens of the borough - stockholders, endeavored to change the Carrier Seminary into
a State Normal school, and succeeded in having the thirteenth district set apart for Clarion; but the M. E. Conference,
on discovering that in the event of the change, the institution would pass out of its control, opposed the project,
and it consquently fell through.
In the summer of 1886 several teachers succeeded in getting the substantial citizens of Clarion interested in the
design of establishing a Normal School. The scheme soon took practical shape; $40,000 were subscribed, and at the
session of the Methodist Episcopal Conference, beginning September 15, 1886, the transfer of the seminary from
that body to the provisional trustees of the Clarion State Normal School Association was effected for the consideration
of $25,000. Ground was immediately broken for the erection of two large dormitories adjoining the main building;
the work was rapidly pushed, and the State committee, having examined the structures February 15, 1887, formally
recommended them the same day, thus perfecting the establishment of the school as a State institution. The interior
of the seminary building was remodeled and renovated throughout; the partitions of the third story were taken out
and the whole converted into a magnificent hall. The ladies' dormitory consists of two wings, each forty by one
hundred and twenty feet, and three stories high; the lower story contains the dining room, thirty eight by ninety
six feet, and capable of seating 250. The main wing of the boys' building, likewise three stories in height, and
with seventy rooms, measures forty by one hundred and two feet; the annex forty by sixty four feet. All the buildings
are fitted with water, steam, and gas, and in interior arrangements and facilities are unsurpassed in the State.
About $60,000 has already been expended in improvements; the total cost will exceed $90,000. School opened April
12, 1887 with 140 students. Prof. A. J. Davis, the principal, is assisted by a select faculty of eleven. While
of course the art of teaching is made a special feature, the school instructs in all the branches of a liberal
education; classic, scientific, commercial, the modern languages, music, painting and civil engineering. The general
management is vested in the principal, subject to the State regulations and the supervision of the State superintendent.
The principal is assisted in maintaining discipline by the teachers and commissary. The trustees have an indirect
control of the institution, each department being entrusted to one of the three committees, viz.: on instruction,
on finance, on supplies.
The Press. - Clarion's first periodical was the Republican, established by William T. Alexander and Robert Barber,
on the rains of a sheet of the same name, published at Strattanville for a few months by J. T. McCracken. The first
number of the Clarion paper, in size 14 x 21 inches; a four column double sheet, was issued in May, 1840. We will
let the editor, Colonel Alexander, describe its auspices in his own words: "When it was determined to issue
the first number of the paper, the building intended for the printing office, 18 x 20 feet, was still uncompleted
and was minus a roof and a floor. It stood upon the site now occupied by Schott's meat market, and the old Ramage
press, which was either the one used by Ben Franklin, or its fac simile, was brought from Strattanville and placed
upon the ground within the walls of the building. The old, worn out type from Strattanville, with a font of new
ones, were laid in cases, and the racks stood upon the then open ground, now occupied by Klahe's hardware store,
with a leafless oak tree and the blue sky for a roof, and all 'out of doors' for elbow room. There was set the
first type for the first paper printed in Clarion, and the first number was issued from the press in the roofless
and floorless building above referred to. It required from three to five hours each week to tighten its props,
retie the platen, renew the leather used for springs, and make other necessary repairs about this Ramage press;
but for years it served all purposes in working off the paper, and doing all the job work turned out by the office.
The subscription list of the paper gradually increased from two hundred to five hundred, and its publishers were
content with the assurance that the country produce taken in exchange would pay for boarding, while the cash payments
would keep up the stock of paper."
The Republican (Democratic in politics) found a formidable, but transitory rival in the Visitor, imported from
Butler by a faction of the Democratic party, to support their ticket, which was opposed by the Republican. It was
published by Charles McLaughlin, ably edited by one Lindsay, and was a comparatively handsome sheet. After the
defeat of all its ticket except the sheriff, the Visitor remained long enough to print his official blanks and
The Iron County Democrat was started in September, 1842, by B. J. Reid and Samuel Duff, and first saw light on
the 27th of that month. It was created by a demand for a non bolting Democratic organ. The Iron County Democrat
in size, was considerably larger than the Republican; at its head was. displayed the legend, "All kinds of
marketable produce taken in exchange." Reid & Duff were succeeded by B. J. and J. C. Reid, and in February,
1844, the conflicting wings having buried the hatchet, the Republican and Iron County Democrat were consolidated
under the name of the Clarion Democrat, B. J. Reid and William T. Alexander, proprietors and editors; Captain Barber
having in the mean while retired. The old material of the Republican was disposed of to start the Emlenton Gazette,
and torture the eyes of the Emlentonians.
In August, 1845, differences arose between the editors concerning the choice of two tickets presented by a disrupted
county convention. Neither yielding, a deadlock was the result, and the paper suspended publication. The difficulty
was at length solved by Mr. Reid selling his interest to Alexander, and after a break of six weeks the Democrat
again appeared, October 11, 1845. In a few months Colonel Alexander took in Geo. W. Weaver, of Bellefonte, and
the firm so continued for about seven years; for a succeeding period of ten years Alexander remained sole proprietor.
July 10, 1858, the Democrat was enlarged from a five to a seven column sheet, and other typokraphical changes made.
Early in June, 1862, James T. Burns, esq., became a partner in the paper, but in the following December his interest
was purchased by R. B. Brown, of Brownsville, Fayette county. In 1864 Mr. Brown became sole proprietor, Colonel
Alexander retiring after an editorship of twenty four consecutive years. Mr. Brown introduced the first steam press
in the county, for the office of the Democrat, in January, 1872. In November, 1877, George F. Kribbs became owner
and editor of the Democrat, and in September, 1885, Mr. W. I. Reed, formerly of Beaver, Pa., was taken into partnership.
Under the present management the circulation of the Democrat has been much increased, extensive reforms made in
its typographical appearance, and it is now one of the most substantial and prosperous country weeklies in Western
Pennsylvania. In January, 1887, the old press was replaced by an improved Cottrell & Babcock, with a capacity
of 1,500 copies an hour.
The Democrat Register, the Whig organ, was inaugurated by D. W. Foster, esq., and issued its first number April
26, 1843. It was inferior both in matter and make up to the opposition journals. Foster, in 1845, resigned the
editorial chair to Parker C. Purviance, an attorney from Butler, and later it was conducted by his brother in law,
A. J. Gibson.
The Register was purchased in 1852 by Colonel Samuel Young, who infused some life into its columns. In 1856 the
sheet was enlarged and its name changed to the Independent Banner. In 1869 C. W. Gilfillan, the Republican nominee
for Congress in this district, was opposed by Young in the Banner. To get rid of this enemy and have the Republican
press unanimous in his favor, Gilfillan bought out Young in the fall of 1829, changed the paper's name to the Republican,
and sent J. T. McCoy, of Franklin, to edit it. McCoy, after a few months was succeeded by George O. Morgan, of
In 1871 the Republican was purchased by Jos. H. Patrick and William S. Alexander, who edited it jointly for a few
years, when Patrick retired. This management, in 1873, procured a steam press. William Alexander continued to act
as editor till 1876, when a handsome new office was erected, and the concern passed into the control of the Republican
Printing Company, composed of William S. Alexander, George W. Arnold, Theo. S. Wilson; Mr. Alexander, business
manager, and W. R. Johns, editor. In 1879 Johns left to start the Foxburg Gazette, owned by William L. Fox, and
his place was filled by A. A. Carlisle, till the consolidation of the Republican and Gazette, September 9, 1880.
Mr. Johns remained editor for three years, and on September 9, 1883, John B. Patrick, esq., having bought Theo.
S. Wilson's interest, and leased the others, assumed editorial charge.
The Independent Democrat, started in 1854, by John S. Maxwell, was a short lived sheet, expiring in about six months.
A. Cameron Foster, assisted financially by J. B. Watson, esq., in 1872, established the Clarion Jacksonian in 1872.
After some years it was leased by West & Ray; T. West, editor. Being shortly sold at sheriff sale, the paper
was purchased by West & Ray, and in January, 1881, sold to A. A. Carlisle, who soon after brought it out in
a new, and much more attractive garb.
Banks. - Clarion's first financial institution, the First National Bank, was chartered January 18, 1865, with a
capital of $100,000. William L. Corbett was first president, G. W. Arnold, cashier; the latter has retained that
position ever since. The First National occupied the old building now leased by Ed. L. Fox, till 1882, when their
present elegant fire proof structure was completed.
The Discount and Deposit Bank was established in 1871, with James Campbell, president, and T. B. Barber, cashier,
succeeded by N. Myers. Capital $100,000. In 188o the institution was reorganized as the Discount and Deposit Bank,
limited, and the office was removed to Kribbs's block. September, 1883, it became the Second National Bank of Clarion.
Military. - Back in the '50's several ineffectual attempts were made in Clarion to raise a volunteer militia company.
A number of the Perry Infantry in 1876 were recruited from Clarion and vicinity, but no home organization was reached
till November 15, 1878. The Perry township company, first commanded by A. J. Davis, later by O. E. Nail, having
disbanded, both those gentlemen, on coming here to fill their respective offices, canvassed the formation of a
military company and brought about the existence of Company G, Sixteenth Regiment, N. G. P.; A. H. Beck, first
captain; William S. Alexander, lieutenant. Captain Beck was succeeded by O. E. Nail; he by J. J. Frazier, and on
the latter's promotion, M. A. K. Weidner, was elected to the command. On Weidner's resignation May 8, 1887, A.
J. Davis was chosen captain. In 1881 the company was transferred to the Second Brigade, Fifteenth Regiment, and
became Company D. It took possession of the present armory in the winter of 1878. The strength of the company is
The town grew very slowly between 1845 and 1875; in fact the advancement was scarcely perceptible. The population
of the village in 1860 did not exceed that of 1850, while the census of 1870 showed a falling off of fifteen from
that of 1850. For the space of twenty five years, improvements, too, were almost at a stand still. Among the few
notable additions in those years was the Myers mansion erected by Thomas Sutton about 1845; the Catholic Church
in 1854; E. Alberson's residence (now J. L. Shallenberger's), about the same time; G. W. Arnold's residence and
block in 1856; the latter was the first three story residence in the town.
Five companies mustered at the county seat and marched thence away to war - Lemon's, Knox's, Reid's, Loomis's,
and Mackey's, laving in the order given. In those trying times Main street, the public squares, and the fair grounds
resounded to the drum, the "spirit stirring fife," and the martial tread of the volunteers in drill and
tactics. The panting recruits swept along the chief thoroughfare of the village from end to end, marching, counter
marching, charging, and toilsomely but heroically performing all the evolutions of the drill. Sometimes they were
armed with old muskets, oftener with sticks and canes. The Fair Ground was used for practice and as a camp. Captain
Knox's and Reid's companies underwent a three days' drill encampment there, bivouacking in the sheds. The companies
on their departure would assemble in front of the courthouse, listen to a patriotic address and receive the benediction
of one of the ministers of the town. Then amid tears and cheers, they wheeled down Fifth avenue, and the declivity
of the road shut them out from view; some, forever.
The close of the war was appropriately celebrated by the townspeople. The following extract is taken from the issue
of April 15, 1865, of the Clarion Democrat, which, though it was hostile to the war, and bitterly attacked Lincoln's
policy during its continuance, joined in the general rejoicing over the triumph of the Union.
"CLARION REJOICING OVER THE GOOD NEWS.
"On Monday and Tuesday the news of the surrender of Lee's army was received and confirmed. The courthouse
and church bells were rung, a salute fired, and preparations made for holding a meeting. On Tuesday evening almost
every house in Clarion was brilliantly illuminated, and flags displayed in great numbers. A large meeting of ladies
and gentlemen was held in the courthouse; William L. Corbett, esq., was chosen president, Dr. James Ross and James
Sweeny, esq., vice presidents, and R. B. Brown and Samuel Young, secretaries. The exercises were opened by the
audience standing up and singing the doxology, 'Praise God from whom all blessings flow, etc.,' and prayer by Rev.
Graham. Appropriate and patriotic speeches were made by Corbett, Reid, Graham, Montgomery, Barr, and Myers; Guth's
brass band, and a company of young ladies and gentlemen accompanied by a melodeon, enlivened the occasion by playing
and singing patriotic airs. The rejoicing was general and heartfelt, and all look forward with great hope to a
speedy termination of the war, and a return of our brave soldiers to their homes and friends, so that all may enjoy
the blessings of peace and harmony."
This intelligence, as well as all war news of importance for two months previous, was received by telegraph. The
Democrat of February 18, 1865, says: "The telegraph office in Clarion is now open, and dispatches can be sent
to all parts of the country. When we get a railroad through the county, we will then be out of the woods."
The first office was in one of the front rooms of the upper story of the courthouse, and there remained for a number
of years. Mr. Armstrong was the first operator.
Early Cycling. - A Democrat of 1869 says: "A couple of velocipedists from Meadville, we are informed, attempted
to raise a school of instruction in the art of riding the velocipede, in Clarion, but not meeting with sufficient
encouragement, gave up their efforts." Clarion has made wonderful progress in rapid locomotion since, as the
numerous cycles, of all descriptions, seen on our streets testify.
About 1868 there was a craze among the youth of the town for battles with "fire balls," that is, balls
of ignited paper, or rags, which could be picked up and hastily thrown without burning the fingers. They were only
indulged in at night, and as the fiery projectiles streamed through the darkness, to and fro between the contending
lines, the effect was very striking. The sport, however picturesque, was too dangerous to life and property to
be long tolerated. Main street was also the theatre of many a stubborn football contest.
Conflagrations. - Several times the forest fires, which blasted most of the noble timber along the hillside overlooking
the river, threatened to wipe the county seat out of existence; and the citizens were compelled to turn out and
fight the flames. The most severe of these fires was that of 1865.
Clarion has been singularly blessed in its exemption from epidemics, riots, murders, and disastrous storms. Large
fires have been exceedingly rare. The only ones outside of the courthouse, which may be dignified by the name of
conflagrations, were the fire of March 2, 1874, which destroyed the residence and store of N. Myers, and the store
of T. C. Wilson, involving a loss of $30,000; and that of December 24, 1884, which burnt the store and dwelling
house of B. H. Frampton, and A. H. Sarver's store, destroying property to the amount of $15,000.
In 1871 the spirit of improvement reawakened, and stimulated by the opening of the Clarion oil field and the increased
prosperity of the community, it has progressed favorably ever since. For the past fifteen years Clarion has had
a gradual, but healthy and permanent development. In that time the value of real estate has doubled. In 1870 Cottage
Hill was a collection of uninhabited outlots, and there was not a single house fronting on Seventh avenue. The
years 1875 and 1886 were the leading years in building; in the former the aggregate value of improvements, exclusive
of the new prison, was $72,250; the buildings commenced and completed in the latter year represent more than $100,000.
Among them are Frampton's Block and Opera House, the new public school and the Normal School structures.
A comprehensive ordinance, passed September 6, 1873, enacted a number of reforms in town matters, the most notable
being that section requiring each property holder on Main street to maintain a brick pavement.
The contract for the water works was awarded August 20, 1875, to P. H. Shannon, of Titusville, and completed in
November of the same year, at a cost of $25,000. At the station two Eclipse pumps force the water to the 2,400
reservoir on Seminary Hill, a vertical height of 481 feet above the river level. The total length of the mains,
composed of four and six inch pipe, is above 9,000 feet; average pressure on the mains, forty three pounds to the
square inch. Ten Hutchinson fire plugs were located throughout the town. The original officers of the Clarion Gas
and Water Company were James Campbell, president; N. Myers, treasurer; R. D. Campbell, secretary; R. B. Thomas,
superintendent. The present officers of the organization are, president, William L. Corbett; treasurer, N. Myers;
secretary, William H. Ross; superintendent, James Knox.
The fire company was the natural outcome of the water works. It was organized December 18, 1875, with A. H. Beck,
captain. Major Henry Wetter's liberality furnished the company with a hook and ladder truck, and it thereupon took
the name of the Wetter Hose Company. The small hand engine, purchased by the town council the year before, was
discarded for hydrant power. The services of the company were first called upon in Februasy, 1876, to quench a
blaze at Mrs. Evans's house. John G. Meisinger is the present captain.
The growth of the town, and the public and private improvements which 1875 saw, made that year an era in its history.
The engine house and council hall was erected in the spring of 1877, by T. C. Wilson, contractor.
The first railroad train entered Clarion December 4, 1877. The formal opening of the Emlenton, Shippenville and
Clarion Railroad, on December 24, was a gala day for the good people of Clarion. About 400 excursionists, including
notable railway officials and editors, were met at Edenburg by a delegation from the town, and on their arrival
escorted to the music of several bands to the courthouse, where they were addressed by Colonel Knox, and others.
The guests were then dined, and a return excursion started for Emlenton, the other terminus, where the festivities
concluded with a ball.
The Clarion Light and Heat Company was chartered in December, 1882, with a capital stock of $3,600; W. W. Greenland,
president; F. M. Arnold, treasurer; J. F. Brown, secretary; R. D. Campbell, superintendent. In July the stock was
increased fivefold. After an ineffectual attempt to revive a famous old gasser at Black's Forge, the company struck
a fair vein, August, 1883, near the "Fountain Well," on the river, east of the town, and in November,
1883, the people of Clarion began using natural gas. In course of time, this supply proving insufficient, a number
of fruitless endeavors were made to obtain an additional well, five wells in all being drilled. In the winter of
1884 the gas was at a very low ebb, and a reenforcement for the next winter was absolutely necessary. On August
25 Stewart & Ogden's gas well, near Mechanicsville, was purchased for $1,200; 30,000 feet of three inch casing
purchased, and the gas piped to Clarion, a distance of five miles. This well yielded an abundant flow of the aerial
August, 1886, the Citizens Gas Company, a rival association, struck a strong vein of gas near the Stewart &
Ogden well. Negotiations resulted finally, October 27, 1886, in the union of the two companies, and a reduction
in rates. The company bears the old name, though controlled by the stockholders of the Citizen's Gas Company. Hon.
James Campbell is president; F. M. Arnold, treasurer; Samuel K. Clarke, secretary; George Banner, superintendent.
The corporation is about to issue their first dividend. There are now very few houses in the borough which do not
On August 21, 1884, upon the petition of numerous citizens, and the recommendation of the grand jury, the borough
limits were widely extended. The chief aim of this enlargement was to secure the better maintenance of the roads
leading to the town. The general outline of the present boundary is a line embracing the Fair Ground, and thence
taking a northeast course across the turnpike to the river, a little west of the upper bridge; thence up the river
to the mouth of Corbett's (or Knapp's) Run; thence by a broken line in a southeastern course to the east boundary
of E. Knapp; thence through lands. of W. R. Curll and Samuel Sloan's heirs south to the northern boundary line
of the Agey farm; thence a general western line through the Sloan lands to their western boundary; thence by the
same north to the railroad; thence along the railroad, west to 5th avenue crossing; thence northeast sixty degrees
to the 4th avenue extension; thence by the same to the old southern boundary line, and along that and the western
one to the place of beginning.
Population, 1870, 709; 1880, 1,169; present about 1,800.
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