Clarion, Iowa

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Clarion, Iowa
Motto: A Community On The Horizon
Location of Clarion, Iowa
Location of Clarion, Iowa
Coordinates: 42°43′52″N 93°43′52″W / 42.73111°N 93.73111°W / 42.73111; -93.73111Coordinates: 42°43′52″N 93°43′52″W / 42.73111°N 93.73111°W / 42.73111; -93.73111
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Wright
 • Total 3.26 sq mi (8.44 km2)
 • Land 3.26 sq mi (8.44 km2)
 • Water 0 sq mi (0 km2)
Elevation 1,171 ft (357 m)
Population (2010)[2]
 • Total 2,850
 • Estimate (2012[3]) 2,789
 • Density 874.2/sq mi (337.5/km2)
Time zone Central (CST) (UTC-6)
 • Summer (DST) CDT (UTC-5)
ZIP codes 50525-50526
Area code(s) 515
FIPS code 19-13620
GNIS feature ID 0455428

Clarion is a city in and the county seat of Wright County, Iowa, United States.[4] The population was 2,850 at the 2010 census.

Clarion is the birthplace of the four-leaf clover emblem used by the 4-H Clubs of America, conceived of in 1907 by the local school superintendent, O.H. Benson.


Clarion is located at 42°43′52″N 93°43′52″W / 42.73111°N 93.73111°W / 42.73111; -93.73111 (42.731112, -93.731095).[5]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 3.26 square miles (8.44 km2), all of it land.[1]


Clarion historical population
Year Pop. ±%
1870 37 —    
1880 147 +297.3%
1890 744 +406.1%
1900 1,475 +98.3%
1910 2,065 +40.0%
1920 2,826 +36.9%
1930 2,578 −8.8%
1940 2,971 +15.2%
1950 3,150 +6.0%
1960 3,232 +2.6%
1970 2,972 −8.0%
1980 3,060 +3.0%
1990 2,703 −11.7%
2000 2,968 +9.8%
2010 2,850 −4.0%
2014 2,773 −2.7%
Source: "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. 
U.S. Decennial Census[6]

2010 census[edit]

As of the census[2] of 2010, there were 2,850 people, 1,185 households, and 752 families residing in the city. The population density was 874.2 inhabitants per square mile (337.5/km2). There were 1,346 housing units at an average density of 412.9 per square mile (159.4/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 91.9% White, 0.5% African American, 0.3% Native American, 0.5% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 5.0% from other races, and 1.8% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 15.9% of the population.

There were 1,185 households of which 30.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.9% were married couples living together, 9.3% had a female householder with no husband present, 4.3% had a male householder with no wife present, and 36.5% were non-families. 32.2% of all households were made up of individuals and 18.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.34 and the average family size was 2.94.

The median age in the city was 41.3 years. 24.8% of residents were under the age of 18; 7.1% were between the ages of 18 and 24; 22.5% were from 25 to 44; 24.9% were from 45 to 64; and 20.7% were 65 years of age or older. The gender makeup of the city was 48.8% male and 51.2% female.

2000 census[edit]

As of the census[7] of 2000, there were 2,968 people, 1,255 households, and 786 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,081.6 people per square mile (418.2/km²). There were 1,355 housing units at an average density of 493.8 per square mile (190.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 93.67% White, 0.20% African American, 0.24% Native American, 0.13% Asian, 5.53% from other races, and 0.24% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 9.80% of the population.

There were 1,255 households out of which 27.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 53.5% were married couples living together, 6.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.3% were non-families. 33.1% of all households were made up of individuals and 19.0% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.29 and the average family size was 2.89.

Age spread: 23.6% under the age of 18, 7.2% from 18 to 24, 24.1% from 25 to 44, 21.7% from 45 to 64, and 23.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42 years. For every 100 females there were 90.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.7 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $37,026, and the median income for a family was $47,083. Males had a median income of $28,281 versus $23,077 for females. The per capita income for the city was $18,431. About 5.3% of families and 9.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 12.4% of those under age 18 and 7.2% of those age 65 or over.


The city offers a wide array of housing. The city annexed 300 acres (1.2 km2) of land into the city limits to be used for housing development. Currently, lots are available as the first phase of the White Fox Landing Subdivision is under construction. The subdivision is located near the high school on the northeast side of town. There is also a Southpointe Housing Subdivision that has a couple lots remaining for new housing in a newly developed area of Clarion.


Clarion has seen industrial expansion creating additional jobs. The development of the Clarion Industrial Park has led to the opening of a new factory, Clarion Packaging LLC, that has built a 114,000 sq ft (10,600 m2). egg carton factory that manufactures egg cartons out of recycled paper. The project added 120 new jobs to the community. There is a 12,000 sq ft (1,100 m2). speculative building available. The industrial park features a new paved access road, sewer and water on site, railroad on site, and is conveniently located just 2 blocks south of Highway 3.

Hagie Manufacturing is located on Central Avenue West. The company, incorporated by Ray Hagie, is responsible for designing and building the first high clearance sprayer. Today, the Clarion company boasts of manufacturing the fastest self-propelled sprayers in the world. The sprayers also feature 120-foot (37 m) long booms, the new standard in the industry. Hagie has expanded significantly in the past three years, building a 75,000 square foot addition to their facility in 2008. They also acquired the former Meredith Corporation facilities which added an entirely new campus. Hagie is one of the leading employers in the Clarion area.

Some of the other industrial companies in Clarion include Monsanto Company, Team Effort, SportsGraphics, Stronghold, Wright County Egg, Centrum Valley Farms, and North Central Cooperative. Wright County is the largest egg producing county in the nation.

Tourism/Historical Sites[edit]

Heartland Museum is located on the western edge of Clarion on Highway 3. Features include the large agriculture hall with lots of antique farm equipment, balcony level farm toy displays, and displays showing the history of agriculture. The museum is home to Alvina Sellers' Iowa Hat Lady collection of over 6,000 hats. Alvina was from Clarion and gave 5,636 programs including an appearance in the David Letterman Show. The Artist Teddy Bear Museum was completed in 2005 to accommodate the fourth Teddy Bear Reunion in the Heartland in Clarion. The celebration was been held every 5 years since 1990-2010. Another feature of the museum is the period streetscapes that recreate businesses in Clarion from years gone by. The Wright County Historical Library in the museum is a history and research library of information all about Wright County located in the 1920s-1930s streetscape. The Heartland Museum also has a newly renovated and expanded community room available for rent and is home to the Clarion Historical Society and Clarion Arts Council. In 2013 another building was built to house more antique farm machinery.

The 4-H Schoolhouse Museum is another attraction located on Highway 3 in Gazebo Park. The restored Rock Island Depot is used as the office for the Clarion Chamber & Development.


Clarion's downtown features several buildings built in the 1800s. The center of the business district is the Wright County Courthouse, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Plans are currently underway to renovate the courtroom to both modernize the facility and restore some of the original architecture. Clarion's downtown includes several businesses of various types.[1].


The Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Community School District serves 954 students (2014-15) in a 363 square-mile area, primarily in Wright County with portions of the district extending into Humboldt, Franklin, and Hancock counties. Schools within the district include the elementary school (P/K-5), middle school (6-8), and high school (9-12), all of which are located in Clarion. Grades 6-12 are one-to-one. Students in the middle school all have school issued iPads. High School students are issued MacBook Airs.

The Clarion-Goldfield and Dows School Districts began a whole grade sharing agreement in 2005. Under the agreement Dows maintained their own elementary school and sent students in grades 6-12 to Clarion. The districts shared administration and several staff members. In 2014, the districts consolidated into one district and the Dows Elementary School was closed. The Dows School building was sold to be used to warehouse Pioneer Seed. The playground and athletic complex were gifted to the City of Dows.

In 1981 Clarion and Goldfield began a whole grade sharing agreement that included sharing the high school, this was expanded to include the middle school in 1986. The two districts passed a consolidation (99% and 89% approval) to merge the two districts into the Clarion-Goldfield Community School District. The Goldfield building continued to house elementary classes until closing in 2008. The Goldfield building continues to be used for athletic events and practices and is available to rent for events.

The district territory also saw expansion in when Clarion and Galt consolidated in the 1960s. In 1987, the Boone Valley School District of Renwick dissolved, with the former district being divided between Humboldt and Clarion/Goldfield. In 2015, the Corwith-Wesley dissolved with portions of the district being split between Algona/LuVerne, West Hancock, and Clarion-Goldfield-Dows.

Clarion-Goldfield-Dows High School was built in 1969. A weight room was built in 2003 by the Sports Boosters. In 2004 an addition and renovation project was completed building an addition to the north and a new art room, pottery room, business room, 2 computer labs, wrestling room, 4 locker rooms, and geothermal heating and cooling to the north northwest half of the facility. In 2007 another project was completed that included a south addition and extensive renovations to create new and renovated facilities for a library media center, ICN room, computer lab, chemistry/physics lab, renovated biology lab, 7 new classrooms, expanded and renovated offices, new main entrance, and a hallway/entrance to the east. The project included extensive renovations and new geothermal heating and cooling to the southeastern portion of the building. Plans for the future include a 650-seat auditorium addition or a possible auxiliary gym. In 2014 the parking lot was redone as well.

The Clarion-Goldfield-Dows Elementary and Middle School complex began with a 3-story high school building built in 1913, located on what is now the circle drive. In 1936, the 2-story elementary school was built as it stands today. In the late 1950s a building project was completed that included a northwest addition to the elementary school, an east addition to the elementary school, and what is now the middle school was built as a north addition to the high school that also connected the two buildings into one facility. The high school was moved to the new building in Northeast Clarion in 1971. The facility then became a P/K-8 facility. In 1993 the 1913 portion of the building was demolished, the middle school was capped and a new front entrance and circle drive were built. An addition was built to the north of the elementary school including a multipurpose room (gymnasium/cafeteria), library media center, ICN room, 2 computer labs, and additional classrooms. The 1936 elementary building and east addition was extensively renovated at this time. In 2002 a north addition was built to the middle school, adding 4 additional classrooms. In 2007 an extensive renovation project was completed to the middle school and northwest elementary addition that also included a small addition to the southwest, near the front entrance. In 2003 a new playground was completed. Plans are underway for a potential addition to the north side of the multipurpose room that will include additional locker rooms and a baseball/softball hitting facility, which will also serve as a tornado and emergency shelter for the school and community. The football field and track facilities are located east of the elementary/middle school, which were built in 1938. The football stadium is one of the only ones in Iowa with a covered stadium.

The Clarion-Goldfield-Dows continues to partner with area school districts to provide additional opportunities to students. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows and CAL (Latimer) are sharing high school football and cross country in 2015. Clarion-Goldfield-Dows and Eagle Grove share a transportation director, vocational agriculture insturctor, and juvenile court liaison. Additionally, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows partners with Iowa Central Community College to offer a wide range of dual credit college courses, many of which are offered to students at no cost and are taught by high school faculty.

Clarion-Goldfield-Dows is a Class 2A school in the North Central Conference (Iowa) that includes Algona, Clarion-Goldfield-Dows, Clear Lake, Hampton-Dumont, Humboldt, Iowa Falls-Alden, St. Edmond, and Webster City. School colors are red and black and the mascot is the Cowboys/Cowgirls. The school song is sung to the tune of Illinois Loyalty.


The Clarion Public Library was built in 1908. In 2009, an addition to the north side of the building was added. Also, a renovation project was finished that included doubling the square footage of the building. During the renovation, the original 1908 ceiling was revealed, along with a small attic that contained relics from the early 1900s.


Iowa Specialty Hospital (formerly Wright Medical Center) is located in the city and was recently been awarded such prestigious awards as the Firestarter Award by the Studer Group and the Summit Award by Press Ganey Associates. Wright Medical Center and Belmond Medical Center began a partnership, which eventually led to the two facilities being renamed Iowa Specialty Hospital. In 2006 a major expansion and renovation project was completed making facilities state-of-the-art, including a new emergency room. The hospital enjoys patient satisfaction ratings of 99% and serves patients from a 75-mile (121 km) radius of Clarion. Iowa Specialty Hospital employs about 450 people and has continued to experienced significant growth making it the 2nd largest "small hospital" in the state. A 2011 addition includes three new operating rooms, an out patient surgical clinic, specialty clinic, administrative offices, and a conference center on the lower level. The current maternity center will be renovated into additional labor and delivery rooms, the current specialty clinic will become expanded area for the family practice clinic. The project also included renovations to the radiology area of the facility. Iowa Special Hospital maintains state of the art campuses in Clarion and Belmond as well as outreach clinics in Clear Lake, Hampton, Webster City, Fort Dodge, and West Des Moines. Wright County Public Health & Hospice is another healthcare provider in Clarion. There are two pharmacies, two dental clinics, two optometry clinics, two chiropractors, two medical supply stores, and a hearing aid center all located in Clarion.


In 2006 the new Clarion Aquatic Center was completed and opened in June. The aquatic center features 2 large slides, 2 deep-water drop-slides, zero-depth beach-style entrance with play features, 6-lane lap swimming area, and 2 diving boards. Clarion has 3 city parks - the Aquatic Center Park (locally referred to as "Tornado Park") which is located next to the Aquatic Center, Firemen's Park, and Gazebo Park. Lake Cornelia is located just North of town and features a natural glacier lake, large conservation park including modern camping sites. There is a new walking/biking trail around Lake Cornelia with another one, the Vita Course, located in Northeast Clarion. Clarion also has a skating rink and newly renovated, community run digital movie theatre.


There are several churches in Clarion including the First United Methodist Church, First Lutheran Church, St. John's Catholic Church, Clarion Church of Christ, United Presbyterian Church, United Church of Christ Congregational, The Dwelling Place, and the Lighthouse Church of the Nazarene. First Lutheran Church shares a pastor with the First Lutheran Church in Dows. St. John's Catholic Church is part of the Holy Family Cluster, which includes catholic churches in Clarion, Eagle Grove, and Belmond. Two churches are located in Holmes, an unincorporated community five miles west of Clarion, include the Holmes Evangelical Lutheran Church and the Holmes Baptist Church. The Immanuel Missouri-Synod Lutheran Church is located 6 miles east of Clarion. There are several faith based groups for people of all ages in Clarion as well, including CHICKS (Christ's Hands Influence Confidence, Kindness, and Self-Control) girls' non-denominational youth group, G3 (Glory Goes to God) that is a middle school boys' youth group, Iron Men ecumenical community men's study group, Marys and Marthas ecumenical women's' service group, SHINE (girls 4th-5th grade group), Hiz Kidz (ecumenical after school program), among others.

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ a b "US Gazetteer files 2010". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  2. ^ a b "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  3. ^ "Population Estimates". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2013-05-23. 
  4. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  7. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 

External links[edit]