Downtown Meadville: Local Business Through the Years

From its founding in 1788 by David Mead, Meadville has been a center for trade and a home to inventors, artisans, and entrepreneurs. The town stretched in a grid between its public square Diamond Park on the east and French Creek on the west. The earliest business district grew up on Water Street, a north-south road that paralleled the waterfront and connected to the old Indian trail that traversed the area.

When the railroads arrived in the 1860s, the tracks also ran north-south, roughtly parallel to French Creek. The stations and facilities were laid out west of Water St., allowing most passengers to exit onto Chestnut St.. where any number of hotels, shops, and entertainment establishments awaited them. Later on, passengers could board trolleys to make the easy ride out Chestnut St., up the Main Street hill to Allegheny College, or perhaps out to Exposition Park, now known as Conneaut Lake Park. Postcards from the 1910s show the lively action in the center of town, identified as the corner of Chestnut St. and Water Street.

By 1971, the landscape of Meadville was dramatically changed as the state and federal governments established the highway system to accommodate the exploding automobile culture. The major redevelopment that brought the Arterial Highway through town, ended regular railway service, and established the Downtown Mall in its place, with lots of easy parking.

252 Chestnut St: Tarot Bean Roasting Company

252 Chestnut St stands today as Tarot Bean Roasting Company, a community oriented coffee shop and roastery owned by Michael and Tonya Reed. Along with providing coffee, other beverages, and freshly baked goods, Tarot Bean also acts as a gathering…

242 Chestnut St: The Green Shoppe

The Green Shoppe, owned and run by Julie McClymonds, sells sustainable products such as green shampoo, hand soap, children’s toys and clothing. As part of her efforts to help people make greener choices and live a healthier life, she also offers…

283 Chestnut St: Mannino Italian Garden

Mannino Italian Garden is in the heart of downtown Meadville, just a short walk up from the downtown mall or a stroll down from Diamond Park, allowing prime access to all of the community members and the students of Allegheny College. The restaurant…

828 N Cottage St: Cobblestone Cottage and Gardens

The Cobblestone Cottage and Gardens is a flower shop in downtown Meadville that caters to the community’s floral needs. The location began its life as a floral shop in 1992 when it was known as Flowers by Linda and has been continuing to please…
With support of The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant for Collaborative Undergraduate Research in the Humanitiies at Allegheny College and the Oral History in the Liberal Arts Expanding Collaboration Initiative of the Great Lakes College Association