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Archive for the tag “Struthers Library Theatre”

Small town Prosperity in Warren, Pennsylvania

October 31, 2020

Nestled in a shallow mountain valley along the upper Allegheny River, Warren looks like many other central Pennsylvania small towns. Its population stands at 10,000 or so, and the streets here are lined with tall deciduous trees. Often shaded behind those trees are old Victorian homes dating back to Warren’s oil and timber boomtime in the late 1800s. But prosperity has come back to town, as you’ll see below.

In the fall it’s absolutely beautiful here. A stroll down 5th Avenue in Warren isn’t at all like a stroll down 5th Avenue in Manhattan or even in Pittsburgh, but it’s striking in its own way. I used this photo as my PC desktop background for a while.

5th Avenue in Warren, Pennsylvania

Imagine sitting on the front porch of this fine home, enjoying a coffee or a whiskey depending on the time of year.

Classic brick home with American flag in Warren, Pennyslvania

Just one more home please. 5th Avenue in Warren runs along the base of a mountain, as seen off to the right in this photo.

Victorian home with classic front porch and American flag. Warren, Pennsylvania

The Warren County Courthouse is just down the street.

Warren County Courthouse. Warren, Pennsyvlania

Built in 1876, the cornerstone says July 4, 1876, or the day of America’s first Centennial celebration.

Cornerstone of Warren County Courthouse

Renovated in 1999, the courthouse was originally topped by a steel statue of Lady Justice, which has since been replaced with a fiberglass version. The original statue currently sits in a first-floor display case. According to the historical notes, the replacement to a fiberglass version was undertaken since fiberglass is better able to withstand lightning strikes, other weather, and gunshots. Gunshots? Yes, the notes mentioned that when taken down in 1999 the old Lady was found bearing bullet marks. What happened? Were bored residents using her as target practice from their front porches on quiet evenings? It doesn’t say.

Warren County Courthouse
Warren County Courthouse front lawn and Civil War cannon

The history of this part of north-central Pennsylvania includes conflicts with Seneca and other Iroquois tribes. One war chief named Cornplanter, son of a Dutch trader and a Seneca woman, led negotiations with the new United States after the end of the Revolutionary War. Wikipedia has an entry on Cornplanter here. On his painting, found displayed prominently inside the courthouse, Cornplanter is shown with an American flag draped over his left arm with the shadow of George Washington over his right shoulder,

Dutch-Seneca Chief Cornplanter

Warren was named for Revolutionary War hero General Joseph Warren, who died at the Battle of Bunker Hill. The town honors him with a statue in the park, below the tree-lined ridge at the north end of town.

Statue of Joseph Warren in Warren, PA

Warren has always been an oil town, and its proximity to the Marcellus Shale and its fracking activity helps with its prosperity today. Storefronts downtown along Pennsylvania Avenue (main street) are mostly occupied. I hope the prosperity lasts — beautiful, stately small towns like this deserve a break.

Downtown Warren, Pennsylvania
Downtown Warren, Pennsylvania
Elk fountain in downtown Warren, looking west

Every old Pennsylvania town has a statue honoring its Union veterans from the Civil War. Warren’s statue is at the base of the Hickory Bridge over the Allegheny River, at one corner of the main intersection in town.

Civil War memorial in Warren, PA. Hickory Bridge over the Allegheny is at the right.

Downtown Warren lies along the banks of the upper Allegheny River — far, far upstream from the river’s confluence with the Monongahela at Pittsburgh. Here, the Allegheny is just a big mountain stream.

Hickory Bridge over the Allegheny at Warren, PA
Allegheny River near Warren
Canoeists and a kayaker on the Allegheny, waving at me

Although Warren has only 10,000 residents, it does have some culture. The Struthers Library Theatre uses the old town library building for events. List of events can be found on their website here. It’s impressive. A photo of the classic venue is below.

Struthers Library Theatre. Warren, Pennsylvania

Of course the new library building is pretty nice too. I like the classical references along the exterior walls.

Warren Public Library

Finally, and not at all least importantly, every cool town needs a cool cigar lounge. Allow me to present Nice Ash Cigars and Lounge (link here), a classy part of the Warren nightlife. Nice Ash has two additional locations in Depew and Fairport, New York — but why cross the border into New York (no-fracking country) when you can enjoy a cigar in Pennsylvania?

Nice Ash Cigars and Lounge. Warren, PA

As the sign on the window says, Nothing Beats a Nice Ash!

All photos taken by the author. Photos taken on either October 4th or October 8th, 2019.

A list of all photo posts from the American County Seats series in TimManBlog can be found here.

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