Pieces of the Past: Celoron Park

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Photo submitted.

There was a major manufacturer on First Ave. in Jamestown in the late 1800s. They made worsted wool and men’s suits. The two sons weren’t all that interested in making clothing.

One started a trolly business, the other a boat service on Chautauqua Lake taking patrons to the institute. Both knew that there needed to be “destinations” at the end of each line. Brother number one founded Midway Park halfway between Jamestown and the other end of the lake. Brother number two built an amusement park at the foot of Dunham in Celoron. For my lifetime Celoron Park remained a place I had heard of but never visited.

One day walking into town from the East Side I spotted the new sign at CELORON Park in Warren! Skuse me? Celoron Park? Warren? Yes! I was fascinated. Why would we have a park named for a place around Jamestown?
Because of course, it was named for Piere Joseph Celoron DeBlainville.

Celoron came from a powerful family of nobles in France. Without getting into a whole long dissertation, he was fundamental in several projects set up by the king of France to hang onto America. By the 1730s the British were taking control. It was Celoron’s job to claim the rich Ohio Valley for France. He and his troupe would lay led plaques in strategic places claiming the area for France.

Celoron formed a group of French soldiers in Montreal and bolstered his numbers with Native Americans. They made the journey south through Chautauqua and into Warren County. Where the Conewango merges into the Allegheny was a very strategic spot! The plate was laid not far from there. They then moved down the Allegheny stopping in present-day Kittanning then into Pittsburgh and south to Ohio.

Celoron was a no-nonsense guy. He wasn’t a gifted diplomat when it came to dealing with Native Americans. At some point, he and the leaders of the Native Americans got into it hot and heavy. The Native Americans in the party were so angry that they pacn]ked up and left. On their way back they removed the plaques! Visit the triangle-shaped park where Water Street, East Street, and Pennsylvania Avenue all merege.

Celeron was more successful in building a fort that was named Detroit.