Centre County Encyclopedia of History and Culture

State College, PA – The Centre County Historical Society has launched the Centre County Encyclopedia of History & Culture (centrehistory.org/encyclopedia).

The online encyclopedia provides an authoritative look at the county’s past. The more than 100 initial entries present the county’s history and culture, in all its variety, through topics and themes.

The encyclopedia is an all-volunteer effort. More than 40 authors and photographers from across the county wrote entries and photographed subjects.

Entries cover significant events in the county’s history, including the Grange Fair, Aaronsburg Story and Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts. They include well-known places, including the Creamery, Duffy’s Tavern, Neff Round Barn and the Old Mud Church.

Encyclopedia entries examine significant figures including Andrew Gregg, George Atherton, Philip Benner and Thelma Price. They also address broader subjects, including agriculture, iron production, the Civil War, movie theaters and Penn State football. 

The encyclopedia follows accepted scholarly standards in the research, documentation and presentation of the content. All entries have been carefully reviewed and edited for accuracy, clarity, objectivity and completeness.

The encyclopedia is indexed and searchable. New encyclopedia entries will be added regularly.

 “We believe the encyclopedia will be a valuable resource for anyone interested in Centre County’s history and culture,” said Ford Risley, the encyclopedia co-editor with Lee Stout. “The entries address a variety of topics, from before the county was founded up to today.”

“I don’t know of a comparable project for an individual county outside of a major metropolitan area,” Stout said. “It is evidence of both the talented historical researchers and writers we have here and the keen interest Centre Countians have for our past.”

Risley is a member of the Historical Society’s Board of Governors and a Distinguished Professor of Communications at Penn State. Stout is an emeritus board member and the retired archivist for Penn State.

Funding for the encyclopedia website was made possible in part through a grant from the Happy Valley Adventure Bureau. The encyclopedia and the new Historical Society website was designed by Graphics & Design.

Founded in 1904, the Centre County’s Historical Society is the oldest and largest history organization in the county, serving as the official historical society of Centre County. It serves the county as stewards of local history through research and collections, public programming, advocating for the preservation of historical sites and landscapes and promoting education.