Written by Beth Exley

I was recently reading the information in the 2019 Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry Directory and Community Profile. I learned a few things about Clarion County that I did not know before. I thought that everyone else might be interested in learning something as well.

The first random bit of knowledge interested me because I grew up just outside of Lucinda. President Buchanan, the only President from Pennsylvania, had a summer home in Lucinda. President Buchanan served as our President from 1857 – 1861, just prior to the American Civil War. He was our 15th President.

The second tidbit of knowledge is that in the early 1940’s, Cecil B. Demille filmed the movie “Unconquered” at Cook Forest State Park. His films were distinguished by their epic scale and by his cinematic showmanship. When Demille was scouting locations to film in 1946, he decided that Cook Forest was the perfect place to stage some of his forest scenes. The area is still there today, largely unchanged, and anyone is welcome to hike out and see where Gary Cooper filmed his scenes. Some locals were also extra’s in the film.

The third random bit is a political one. The first woman ever elected to state office, Honorable Genevieve Blatt, was and East Brady native. She was known as the “first lady” of Pennsylvania politics, and was the first woman elected to a statewide political office in Pennsylvania. She became the first woman to sit as a Pennsylvania appellate judge and served as Secretary of Internal Affairs from 1955 – 1967.

The fourth random tidbit concerns the Fire tower in Cook Forest.  When was it built?  What was its purpose?  The Fire tower was built in 1929 by the Commonwealth’s Department of Forest and Waters.  It gave firefighters  15 – 20 mile view of the area.  It stands 87 1/2 feet tall. The tower was retired from service in 1966. Visitors today can climb the stairs up to, but not including, the observation cabin on top. 

The fifth big of interesting tidbit for this story is from “The Soldiers” Civil War Monument in the park in downtown Clarion. I have walked by, looked up to see, and even sat at the base of this monument. I did not know how long it had been there. It was erected in the park in 1896. It was the first such monument to be erected in a public park in the state.

This is just a taste of all there is to learn about Clarion County. I thank the Clarion Area Chamber of Business and Industry for providing this information in their annual directory. Our area has so much to offer and so much to see and appreciate. If you want more information on history and what there is to do in the region, go to


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