The ABCs of Centre County

An Alphabetical Look at Places and Spaces around Centre County A Aaronsburg (Haines) — Philadelphia land speculator Aaron Levy laid out the village of Aaronsburg in 1786. It was the earliest town in what would become Centre County, along its earliest road. Aaronsburg’s location near the geographic center of Pennsylvania probably prompted Levy to propose […]

Centre County Overview

By Douglas Macneal Located in the center of Pennsylvania, Centre County lies on a striking landscape overlaid with history. Rock and water shape the surface. The County is divided diagonally almost equally into two parts, bisected by the Allegheny Front: The northwestern half, the Allegheny Plateau, is a forested high plateau divided by deep valleys […]

Life in Downtown State College

As high rises and other modern structures continue to replace or dominate historic buildings and districts in our area, what is left are memories and a few photos of early streetscapes that people have wisely documented or captured over the years. We owe thanks to Helen Breon Volz (1937-2015) for writing her memories of living […]

#3 Kitchen Garden & Spring House

Kitchen gardening is steeped in history. During the first half of the nineteenth century, the outbreak of Asian Cholera in the urban areas of America had a great impact on the way of life in rural America. As an alternative to the unhealthy urban life, all of the positive aspects of gardening (a diet with […]

#1 Front Parlor Garden

Early photographs from the 1880s and 1890s show a garden in front of the Mansion, located near the steps that led guests from the circular driveway to the front staircase. It had become overgrown with, among many things, Lilies of the Valley and a menacing rosebush when Centre Furance Mansion gardener Margery Johnstone and her […]

#2 Laura’s Lilac Bower

A gift for the purchase and planting of approximately three dozen period lilacs was given to the Centre County Historical Society in 2005 to honor Laura Bower with her favorite flower. This rich collection, given in her memory by her son, Jeffrey M. Bower, has been named Laura’s Lilac Bower. Lilac varieties have been chosen […]

#4 Gazebo Garden

Many, many people have helped in the restoration of the Centre Furnace Mansion and grounds for public use, but few have given more commitment than Lois and Everett McLaughlin. In 1993, a memorial gift of a gazebo was given in Lois’s honor as a lasting tribute, given by the McLaughlin family – Everett, children Elliot […]

Everyday Iron

Everyday Iron explores the progression from “furnace to market”, with a special emphasis on the role of the blacksmith. This exhibit featured a rich and wide variety of over 100 iron artifacts from CCHS, private collectors and other local historical organizations, this broad range of artifacts made of iron punctuates its importance in the economic […]