Clearfield Borough History

Clearfield Borough History

Brooke Wright, Staff Writer

Clearfield is the town we all know and love. Although we are familiar with it now, many of us are not educated about our town’s interesting history. Our humble town got its name because of the cleared fields found by early travelers and settlers. These clearings are thought to have been used by Native tribes to easily hunt and capture bison, our school’s mascot. Up to the 1600s, trade routes ran through our town, allowing trades with the Native Americans and other nearby settlements.

The major Native foot path that ran through Clearfield was called the Great Shamokin Path, which spanned across multiple towns through Clearfield County. It was in 1840 when Clearfield was finally recognized as the first borough incorporated into the present Clearfield County. The courthouse that stands in the middle of our town was built in 1814 as the result of Clearfield being named the county seat in May of 1805. It was Abraham Witmer who funded the courthouse’s construction.

Mr. Witmer also donated land plots for the town’s jail, market, and academy. The county jail was originally walking distance from the courthouse, built in 1872. The structure was rededicated in 1981, and the jail was moved to its present-day location. After the construction of the courthouse’s addition in 1862, it was finally completed in 1882. From the central courthouse, Clearfield began to expand with more specialty shops, stores, and homes being erected around it. Clearfield’s location, situated on the edge of the West Branch of the Susquehanna, made it an ideal location for agriculture and trade.

It may seem that Clearfield doesn’t have a lot of exciting things going on today, however it has had a very eventful past. If you ever get the chance, take the time to explore the town and see the different articles of history it carries.


“Clearfield County Historical Society.”,

“Clearfield County PAGenWeb Archives Photos.”, Accessed 20 Apr. 2023.