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  • Writer's pictureMelody Lager

"Wright" in the Middle!

Clarion – the only town in the USA that is the county seat and located in the middle ofthe county! Clarion also has the distinction of being the only town in Wright County to beformed by the citizens of Wright County, rather than being a railroad stop (or hopeful stop).

When Wright County was formed, the town

of Goldfield (Liberty at the time) was the county seat. But due to the fact the major mode of transportation was horses, it created a hardship for those living in the northeast part of the county to get business conducted. So – the town of Grant was set in motion in 1865. Soon

changed to Clarion, as there was already a post office named Grant in Iowa, one historian wrote in 1869 that the townhad no stores, no churches or school! In 1891-92 the current courthouse was built, but 2 blocks east of “center of the county”. The land at what is now Central Ave and 2nd Street west, turned out to be too swampy to build on.

Between 1869 and 1891, Clarion grew. Dry goods stores, drug stores, groceries, a newspaper, attorneys and physicians dotted the town. A mill similar to a Dutch windmill was erected, although it did not last. In 1896 Clarion had the Eldridge Poultry House,which in December 1913 dressed 10,000 birds (chickens and turkeys). As some may remember, Clarion boasted several poultry houses over the years. And like many othertowns, Clarion had a creamery and a hotel. The Clarion House hotel was on the north of the courthouse. Years later, it was moved to the south part of town and only recently was torn down.

Clarion also at one time boasted two railroad stations, where people, animals, and cargo came in and were shipped out. The county fair was once held on the south side of town,south of the current hospital. Various parades and festivals were held thru the years.

Clarion had its share of fires – 1882, 1893, and 1899 all had large fires in the downtown district. But perhaps the largest was in 1875, a prairie fire took 40,000 acres out.

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