Pennsylvania’s elk, once on the verge of extinction, are thriving proudly in the hills that bear their name. Reintroduced to the state in 1913, the herd now numbers more than 800 here.

Pennsylvania’s elk, once on the verge of extinction, are thriving proudly in the hills that bear their name. Reintroduced to the state in 1913, the herd now numbers more than 800 here.

Coming to St. Marys

Elk County... Mighty and Majestic!

The serenity and scenic beauty of nature envelopes you in this panoramic playground of forests, parks, rivers and all that’s wonderful in the wild.

Beyond the elk, immerse yourself in this historic and colorfully quaint county whose attractions and surroundings offer captivating allure. But don’t forget, there’s basketball to be played too... and you’ll want to spend most of your time courtside—where some Classic sights are also sure to dazzle!

Some of the must-see things to visit and do... engage the elk with a trip to the Elk Country Visitor Center. With a warm and welcoming stone fireplace to greet visitors, a “Great Room” with touchable exhibits and interactive displays, this 8,400-square foot eco-friendly building is the premier elk watching and wildlife conservation education facility. A panorama of windows looks out on the picturesque beauty of Pennsylvania’s elk country and wildlife habitat plots. A “Story Theatre” presents a multimedia experience to immerse visitors in the sights, sounds and smells of a mixed hardwood forest, the natural world of elk and native wildlife and the region’s heritage. The site also includes a gift shop, Discovery Room and a series of trails, observation areas and viewing blinds.

Measuring a mere 12 feet by 18 feet is Decker’s Chapel, known as the smallest church in the U.S. Located on Route 255 just south of St. Marys, it was built in 1856 by Michael Decker in honor of his miraculous recovery from a back injury. It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1999. Visitors are welcome anytime.

St. Joseph's Convent is the oldest Benedictine women's community in the country. The Sisters served critical needs in the early years of St. Marys and continue their service today, while maintaining their monastic traditions. The convent was founded in 1852 and is the motherhouse for the Order throughout the United States.

About an hour north of town is the Kinzua Dam, one of the largest in the United States east of the Mississippi River. Completed in 1965, its main purpose is flood control on the Allegheny and Ohio rivers, a watershed area twice the size of Rhode Island. It cost approximately $108 million, but more than paid for itself in 1972 when tropical storm Agnes dumped continual heavy rains on the area bringing the reservoir to within three feet of its maximum storage capacity. Over $247 million in downstream damages were prevented.

Austin Dam Memorial Park marks one of Pennsylvania’s worst flood disasters. The dam was constructed to power the Bayless Papermill downstream. Poor construction, coupled with torrential rain, resulted in the dam's collapse Sept. 30, 1911. Nearly 400 million gallons of water were released destroying everything for eight miles and killing at least 78 people. It was the sixth worst dam failure in U.S. history. The ruins of the structure still stand surrounded by a 76-acre park. The Austin Dam was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1987.

For more St. Marys PA:

Places to Pack it in for the Night

Best Western
1002 Earth Road
St. Marys, PA 15857
Comfort Inn
195 Comfort Lane
St. Marys, PA 15857
Cozy Afghan Bed & Breakfast
152 Center Street
St. Marys, PA 15857
814-834-COZY (2699)
33 S. St. Marys St.
St. Marys, PA 15857