(pop. 5,276) is the seat of Clarion County (pop. 39,988) and has an urban cluster population of 9,001. Tucked between the wild Clarion River and I-80, Clarion is about 75 miles northeast of Pittsburgh and only a few miles south of the vast wilderness of Allegheny National Forest and the popular Cook Forest State Park. Clarion County is known for its agriculture, lumber, coal, oil and natural gas.
Settled in 1839, Clarion grew as a seat of government, resource extraction hub and early center of iron manufacturing.
Today, Clarion thrives as a small college town... home to Clarion University of Pennsylvania (6000 students), part of Pennsylvania's public university system. Its downtown is remarkably healthy, featuring the type of retail you don't typically find in small towns anymore... two quality hometown clothing retailers, furniture store, upscale independent grocer, sporting goods, etc. The university campus is adjacent to downtown and successfully meshes with the urban fabric of the town. Clarion U. is known for its nationally competitive wrestling program.
Clarion's most famous native is Chris Kirkpatrick, founder of *N Sync.
Clarion's public library
Wein's clothing... featuring one of those distinctive mid-20th century facade treatments we all love...
beautiful upscale grocery... the type of thing I'd expect to see in Pittsburgh's trendy Shadyside or a posh suburb like Mt. Lebanon... you go, Clarion!
Crook's Clothing and a subterranean bike shop
Dan Smith's Candies is headquartered in nearby Brookville... and has locations throughout the region for Pennsylvania's chocolate connoisseurs.
The County Seat is a comfortable place to eat.
Small towns always have the cutest names for their retail establishments.
Clarion County's Queen Anne courthouse was built in 1884 and towers over the little town at 213 ft.
Clarion County's Civil War monument is located in the public square across from the courthouse
The lovely Clarion County Jail was built in 1875... back then we built our jails more beautifully than we build our schools, city halls, shops, and churches today.
requisite PA historical marker shot
The next few shots are from Clarion University's campus
Heading north of town... you descend a hill down to the Clarion River... this bridge carries US 322 northwest to Franklin.
This bridge carries a country road north to Cook Forest.