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Clarion, Iowa
Wright County Courthouse
Wright County Courthouse
A Community On The Horizon
Location of Clarion, Iowa
Location of Clarion, Iowa
Country  United States
State  Iowa
County Wright
 • Total 3.36 sq mi (8.70 km2)
 • Land 3.36 sq mi (8.70 km2)
 • Water 0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
1,171 ft (357 m)
 • Total 2,810
 • Density 836.56/sq mi (322.99/km2)
Time zone UTC-6 (Central (CST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-5 (CDT)
ZIP codes
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. The population was 2,810 at the time of the 2020 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).

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.


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%
2020 2,810 −1.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
The population of Clarion, Iowa from US census data

2010 census

As of the census 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.


There are several churches in Clarion including 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, including Holmes Evangelical Lutheran Church and Holmes Baptist Church. Immanuel Lutheran Church (Lutheran Church–Missouri Synod) 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.

Tourism/Historical Sites

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 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.


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.


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.



Clarion, Iowa 002
Downtown Clarion

Clarion's downtown features several buildings built in the 19th century. 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 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, Ahrends Grips and North Central Cooperative. Wright County is the largest egg producing county in the nation.


The community is within the Clarion–Goldfield–Dows Community School District. It was in the Clarion Community School District until July 1, 1993, when it merged into the Clarion–Goldfield Community School District. That in turn merged with the Dows Community School District on July 1, 2014.


Clarion, Iowa 003
Morgan Everts Library in Clarion

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.

Notable people

  • Lee Handley, professional baseball player
  • Roy E. Wilson, professional baseball player
  • Glen Buxton, guitarist for Alice Cooper
  • Glen Brand, olympic gold medalist wrestler
  • Verlyn Klinkenborg, former writer of The Rural Life in the New York Times
  • Bernice Durand, physicist
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