Venango gets its name from a Native American term that refers to French Creek, although this wasn’t the town’s first name. The area was first settled by Europeans in 1797, and over the next 50 years, two sawmills and a grist mill were built.
The owner of the mills, John Kleckner, first named the area Klecknerville when he had it surveyed as a village plot in 1838. The name was changed to Venango when the borough was incorporated some 14 years later in 1852. Today, Venango is a quiet village of 239 residents. The picturesque community is located directly on French Creek in one of the most biologically important sections of waterway in all of Pennsylvania.
Sprague Farm & Brew Works is sort of like a Swiss Army Knife. Imagine a microbrewery, a farm that grows hops for the beer, a live entertainment venue, a farm house lodging accommodation, and wood chainsaw carvings and you have Sprague Farm and Brew Works. This place is uniquely amazing and is open Thursdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
The Venango Valley Inn & Golf Course is located south of Venango on US Route 6/19. It offers an 18-hole course, a driving range, and two practice greens. The clubhouse, restaurant and bar are located in what originally housed an 1838 Federal-style inn. Dining is available year-round and specializes in Italian cuisine, steak and seafood. Venango Valley Inn keeps it local by serving Sprague Beer.
The Country Meadows Golf Course located on Plank Road offers an 18-hole course featuring an island green, as well as a clubhouse, restaurant, and bar.
Affectionately called “the Pickle People” by area residents, Mark and Tracey Olenick are planning to relocate their growing artisanal pickle company to Venango, where it will fill a long-vacant landmark building. The building has housed a general store, furniture store, United States Post Office, town library, and Independent Order of Odd Fellows Lodge. Locals and paddlers alike are looking forward to the next iteration. Follow the progress at https://www.facebook.com/VenangoGeneralStore .
Insider Tips and Local Trivia
The Sprague Farm menu is small, but mighty. One of the staple items is the Smith natural casing hot dog, a regionally-produced favorite.
Notice the wood carvings at the Venango Valley Inn & Golf Course. These tree stumps of tornado damaged trees were kept intact and turned into artful additions to the course.
Don’t forget to visit Tom Swifit’s local produce stand. It’s located just north of the Venango Valley Inn and you can’t miss the sign.
You won’t find the Venango Veterans Memorial Bridge when you visit, but will find where it once crossed French Creek. This National Register of Historic Places wrought iron bridge carried people and goods for over a century before it was deemed too deteriorated to repair. A decorative plaque from the 1893 bridge was saved and set into stone at the site of the crossing, next to an interpretive sign.
Unofficial access to French Creek is available at the site of the old Veterans Memorial Bridge.