Meadville, the county seat for Crawford County, was settled on May 12, 1788 by a party of ten settlers led by David Mead. Its location, situated at the confluence of Cussewago and French Creeks, was chosen for its proximity to strategic transportation routes.

Around 1800, many of the new settlers were arriving to claim their land bounty as payment for their service during the Revolutionary War. The community was incorporated as a borough in 1823 and continued to grow with the construction of the French Creek Feeder Canal in 1837 as well as the Beaver and Erie Canal which connected at Conneaut Lake.  Early canal development, though quickly obsolete, positioned Meadville to play an important role in future rail transportation.  Meadville was incorporated as a City in 1866 and designated the Crawford County seat in 1880.  By the late 1800s, Meadville’s economy included logging, agriculture and iron production.

The Talon Corporation, headquartered in Meadville, played a major role in the market development and manufacture of the zipper. During World War II, the nearby Keystone Ordnance Works brought additional jobs to the area. Talon remained a major employer, along with the railroad industry, American Viscose (later known as Avtex Fibers), Channellock Tools and Dad’s Pet Food.  In the 1980’s, the Great Lakes region saw a major decline in heavy industry.  This blow to the local economy was softened by a subsequent surge in light industry, mainly tool and die machine shops, earning Meadville the nickname Tool City, USA. Today, the Meadville area remains a leader in tooling, machining and advance manufacturing and the city serves as the region’s center for banking, education and social services.

To view downtown Meadville through the years, check out Experience Meadville's History page on their website. The interactive Google Map allows you to explore different parts of town throughout the decades, from the 1920s on!

To learn more about Meadville and Crawford County, visit the Crawford County Historical Society website, follow them on Facebook, or check out their archives in person at 869 Diamond Park.

Crawford County Historical Society