Small Town Spotlight: Marion Center

Marion Center is a small town in northern Indiana County, settled in 1795 by a surveyor born in Ireland named John Park.  The town was originally called “Marion” in honor of American Revolutionary War hero, General Francis Marion.  John’s youngest son was Linton Park, today he is recognized as a primitive painter with many of his works hang in the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. If you want to learn more about Linton Park, come visit the society and visit our book store where we have a book “Linton Park: American Primitive” by J. Neal Griffith for $11.99.

Logging Scene with Oxen by Linton Park

Like many other small towns, Marion Center was host to many businesses, including the Marion Center Milling Company and the Marion Center Creamery.  The Creamery was established in 1888 near the intersection of East Main St. and the Deckers Point and Rochester Mills Rd.  The plant had a daily capacity of 12 tones of milk, producing 2,000 pounds of butter.  However records fail to reveal operation from 1900 until 1904 when the building burned.  Linton Park who was residing in the structure lost many of his paintings in the fire.  On January 13, 1913, work on a new creamery was begun and by April 28 it was churning 1,000 pounds of butter per day.  It was operated by William Nicoson from 1924 until the June 30, 1954 when it was purchased by the Johnstown Sanitation Dairy Co. and then closed down production.

Small glass replica of a milk bottle used for advertising for Marion Center Creamery

Winfield Scott Shields

Marion Center was also the home Doctor Winfield Scott Shields, the last veteran of the Civil War in Indiana County to die.  He was a member of Battery G, First Pennsylvania Artillery, and was the great-grandson of Corporal John Shields who served in the Revolutionary War.  He was a doctor and pharmacist and operated the Shields Drug Store in Marion Center. Mr. Shields was born February 22, 1847 and died September 12, 1946, he was 99 years old.

Marion Center is also home to the Marion Center School District which was started in 1911, the current placement of the building was built in 1929.  The faculty was headed by William A. McCreery who began teaching at Marion Center in 1925 and was elected principle in 1928 serving until 1967, when he retired.

Marion Center Basketball Players 1930-1931

If you would like more information about Marion Center visit the Historical Society or think about reading Clarence Stephenson’s book “Marion Center-East Mahoning, The Centennial Story” available for $24.95.

ABC Guide to the Indiana County Historical Society Part 2

Open. Yes we are open, come to our door at the Old Armory located from the parking lot from Wayne Ave.  Our hours are 9-4 Tuesdays to Fridays and 10-3 on Saturdays.
Quiet! Some days at the Society are very quiet with no visitors and a very small number of volunteers.  It’s hard to understand why, but it is something we have learned to accept because the next day there could be a dozen or more visitors.
Restrooms. One of the most frequent questions is where are the restrooms?  Well, actually they are right inside the door you came in; you can’t miss them!
Stephenson, thanks to Clarence Stephenson we have an extensive five volume history of Indiana County. These massive books catalogue the County’s history from the Native Americas up until the 175th Anniversary of the County in the 1970s.  He answers the main questions: who, what, when, where, but leaves you to determine the why; presenting only the facts.
Tours! It’s hard to believe but the Historical Society gets visitors from all over the United States, so schedule your tour today (if you are bringing a large group), otherwise come in any time during our regular business hours.
Up. There’s nowhere to go but up.  As time goes on preservation techniques becomes better and more history is able to be discovered.  Stay tuned for future events as we continue upward.
Veterans. We have a whole section devoted to honoring our veterans.  Visit the second floor of the armory to see artifacts and uniforms of those who have served from the French and Indian War to the latest war in Iraq and Afghanistan. Many who come to see the displays are very proud to report it is one of the best displays they have ever seen.  This is our way to honor and thank those who have served for our nation’s freedom.
Walking Tour. There is so much history to see along historic 6thStreet; Governor John Fisher lived here – the only governor from Indiana County – he lived on 220 North Sixth Street.  There are many more historic buildings, stop by the historical society to learn more about the history. And again stay tuned as a guided walking tour is in the works.
(E)Xcited.  There is so much to be excited about, just this past year we debuted Indiana County-opoly game which was a huge success with over 500 games sold and still selling, get yours today at our Museum gift shop.  What the future brings excites us as there is always something new happening at the Society.
Years! Historical Societies are based on years.  The years everything happens are important to historians, because that is what tells a story from the beginning to the present.
Zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! At the end of the day, it is always good to get some rest as volunteering and working with people is a tiring job. By getting a good night’s rest we are able to continue our mission the next day.  The best ideas come while sleeping.  Who knows what idea may pop into our heads tonight that we can share tomorrow to make the history of Indiana County come alive.