About This Place
Ridgway is a borough in and the county seat of Elk County, Pennsylvania, United States.
Ridgway was founded by Philadelphian shipping merchant Jacob Ridgway and James Gillis. Jacob Ridgway earned substantial wealth both in Philadelphia and abroad in London. He constantly sent sums of money back to be invested in property. In the early 19th century as part of a larger land purchase, Ridgway acquired 40,000 acres (160 km2) that became Elk County. One of Jacob Ridgway's nephews, James Gillis, convinced Ridgway that the area could become a very lucrative spot for a lumber camp due to the proximity of Elk Creek and the Clarion River. Ridgway is 119 miles (191 km) east by south of Erie on the Clarion River. Coal and natural gas abound in the district. In the past, the industrial interests were manufacturing leather, iron, clay, and lumber products, silk goods, railroad snow plows, dynamos, and machine tools. In 1900, the people living here numbered 3,515; in 1910, 5,408; and in 1940, 6,253. The population was 4,591 at the 2000 census. Many historic structures are located within the boundaries of the Ridgway Historic District, added to the National Register of Historic Places in 2003.