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.

Marion Center High School History

Marion Center High School (undated)

The current Marion Center High School is located off Route 119 on Route 403. The high school began in 1916 as a three-year high school, located on North Manor Street with Harry Crawford acting as the first principal.  In 1923, a four-year high school plan was adopted and there were two faculty members at this time, but in 1925 it had increased to five.  In 1929 there was a new brick building erected and this original building was incorporated into the present building.

William A. McCreery headed the faculty and began teaching in 1925 and in 1928 was elected principal.  There were 31 graduates in 1929.  Then in 1928, the Marion Center-East Mahoning Joint School Board was organized.  The faculty increased again in 1938 to seven faculty members.

Marion Center Area High School (undated)

In 1951 an organizational change came with the junction of Marion Center, Canoe Independent, East Mahoning, Grant, Rayne, South Mahoning, Plumville, and Washington.  The new school board consisted of representatives from each district.  In July 1966, the school district’s official name became “Marion Center Area School District.  Through the years there had been multiple elementary schools connected with the district and today there are two elementary schools: Rayne Elementary and the W.A. McCreery Elementary and the Jr./Sr. High School.

The Historical Society has many yearbooks from the Marion Center Area High School dating from 1928 until the 1980s.  We do not have every single year, but there are enough to enjoy a rich history of this school.  We invite you, if you are interested, to view the yearbooks we have in our collection.

(information from the Indiana Evening Gazette, July 5, 1969)