Ridgway is the county seat of Elk County, on the edge of the Allegheny National Forest and within the Pennsylvania Wilds and Lumber Heritage Regions.
The town is surrounded by forested hills and these trees are the symbol of the town's character, because wood made Ridgway famous. The Hyde-Murphy Company made custom wood specialty products. Their clients included the U.S. Capitol, the Supreme Court, the Library of Congress, the Pentagon and the Smithsonian Institution. Their woodwork is also on display in many of the elegant mansions that make Ridgway the "Lily of the Valley."
Wood continues to make Ridgway popular. Lumbering is still a thriving business in the area. In 2000, Ridgway started a Chainsaw Carving Rendezvous and the event has grown to spectacular proportions.
Carvers from around the world flock to this event which raises money for charity from sales of the carvings. Many of these unique carvings grace the streets and businesses of Ridgway. The town is an outdoor art gallery.
The Clarion Wild and Scenic River begins in Ridgway and is a popular canoeing destination.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR(S)
Dennis McGeehan is a retired college history professor who has worked at both Penn State University and the University of Pittsburgh. He has also worked for many years as a freelance photographer travelling around the world numerous times. He has also worked as a photographer for the Philadelphia Foundation For Architecture. He is the author of several books on St. Marys (PA) and Elk County (PA) history.