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Shippenville Borough

Shippenville Borough Hall is located at 106 School Street, Shippenville PA 16254; phone: 814-782-3321.

Beginnings [1]

Our Commonwealth of Pennsylvania is very closely connected with all the world's progress, and our county of Clarion has furnished its share of this history.

In its primeval state, the entire county was probably a dense forest, inhabited by savages of the red race, who to some extent tilled the land, raised crops of corn, wheat, tobacco, and beans, and made sugar from the sap of the maple trees. They had many villages throughout the country and especially near Shippenville where the remains and signs of several are found in the form of arrow heads, stone axes, stone spear heads, and other such relics.

In 1681, Charles II, King of England, granted to William Penn the entire Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. Shortly after this, Penn made a grant of the section where Shippenville is located to the Holland Land Co., and they in turn deeded it to the Huidekoper Land Co., who in turn made a deed to the Shippen family.

The first settlers came here on account of road conditions being favorable, the settlement being on the famous Susquehanna and Waterford Turnpike, extending from Philadelphia on the east to Waterford near Lake Erie on the west. On this famous road the DuPonts of Delaware shipped and transported the powder which enabled Commodore Perry to win that decisive naval battle of Lake Erie, who when his English opponents signalled to him if he were going to surrender, sent back the historical message "We have not yet begun to fight."

Valuable deposits of iron ore were discovered all over the county and near Shippenville three furnaces, "Soap Fat," "Mary Ann" and "Blacks" produced many tons of high grade iron which was shipped to Pittsburgh by way of boats on the Clarion river.

The mining of this ore, hauling it to the furnaces; mining limestone for flux; making charcoal and the cutting of wood employed hundreds of men in and around Shippenville.

The discovery of the vast iron ore beds in Lake Superior put an end to this industry, but shortly thereafter, oil was found and the town speedily became a busy place again, being one of the oil centers of the county. The first railroad to operate here was the Emlenton and Shippenville Railroad, a narrow gauge, which did a heavy business through the oil excitement, the northern terminus being Shippenville. Afterwards, new management purchased the road. It was extended to Mt. Jewett and was known as the Pittsburgh and Western R. R. Afterwards it was owned and operated by the B. B.&K. for two years and then sold to the Baltimore and Ohio. They made a standard gauge road of it and still operate it.

In 1905, the New York Central began the construction of their New York to Chicago "cut-off" and built through Shippenville, at tremendous expense, the Franklin and Clearfield Railroad which is still in operation, although never being operated as a main line as was intended.

In November, 1905, the First National Bank of Shippenville opened its doors for business and is now recognized as one of the strongest banks in the county. The Susquehanna and Waterford Turnpike became known as the Lakes to the Sea Highway and was among the first to be improved by concrete construction; next the Fryburg and Warren road Route No. 66 was improved and then later the Knox-Emlenton road, Route 218, was improved, all of which gives the town four outlets to the north, east, south and west.

In 1921, the citizens desiring to give their children better school facilities, built a modern, brick high school which ranks among the highest in the county; in 1936 the directors built a modern auditorium, gymnasium and class rooms, which ranks most favorably with any such structure in northwestern Pennsylvania. Shippenville is blessed with four churches, all well attended; Mt. Zion Lutheran Church, Rev. H. J. Behrens, pastor; The Methodist Church with Rev. J. L. Peck, pastor; The Emmanuel Lutheran Church with Rev. A. Floyd Burns, pastor, and the Free Methodist Church with Rev. Roy Ion, pastor. Shippenville is noted for the excellence of its stores and as a trading center. With good roads, the best of educational facilities, and excellent class of citizens, good churches, a good bank, and two railroads, it is an ideal place in which to live.

  1. Snyder, R, Clarion County Centennial, 1840-1940: August 26 to September 2, Clarion County Centennial Association, 1940.
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