Explore Centre County’s History & Culture

Welcome to the Centre County Encyclopedia of History & Culture, an online resource sponsored by the Centre County Historical Society.

In honor of Memorial Day, we are featuring articles about Foster Sayers, the Centre County native who won the Medal of Honor during World War II, and the Pennsylvania Military Museum, which preserves the Commonwealth's military history and honors the soldiers from all branches of the United States armed services.

You can also read new articles about the AAUW Used Book Sale, the popular community event that raises more than $100,000 annually for various causes, and the Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel, a historic engineering landmark on the Penn State campus, as well as other articles.

We welcome your feedback about articles in the encyclopedia as well as your suggestions for future encyclopedia articles.

Featured Articles

Foster Sayers

Foster Joseph Sayers was a Centre County native who was awarded the Medal of Honor for gallantry during World War II. His remarkable bravery allowed his fellow soldiers to attain their objective in reaching the crest of the hill while killing or capturing the German soldiers on it. Sayers, who was 20 years old, died in the fighting.

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Pennsylvania Military Museum

The Pennsylvania Military Museum in Boalsburg preserves the commonwealth’s military history and honors the soldiers from all branches of the United States armed services. The museum opened in 1968 on the grounds of the 28th Infantry Division Shrine established by prominent Boalsburg resident, Theodore Boal.

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AAUW Used Book Sale

The American Association of University Women Used Book Sale is a popular community event that raises more than $100,000 annually for scholarships and other causes. The State College branch of the AAUW started the sale in 1962.

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Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel

The Garfield Thomas Water Tunnel is a historic engineering landmark on the Penn State campus that, for more than 70 years, has been used for research into military technology and other subjects. Built in 1949 it named in honor of Lt. j.g. Garfield Thomas, who died in fighting during World War II.

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Hotel State College

The Hotel State College is a State College landmark, known as the home of the popular Corner Room restaurant. In 1855, James Jack opened “Jack’s Road House” at the corner of College Avenue and Allen Street. At the time, the hotel was a resting place for travelers waiting for trains across the street.

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Railroads

A quest for natural resources shaped the development of Centre County’s rail network, beginning in 1859 when the Bellefonte and Snow Shoe Railroad began hauling coal and timber from the Mountaintop area to the Bald Eagle Valley.

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Titan Metal

Titan Metal Co., founded in 1925, was a leading producer of brass rods and castings. Led by William P. Sieg and his son, the Bellefonte company was a major employer in Centre County for decades and played a significant role in community affairs.

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Whitewater Canoeing & Kayaking

Canoeing and kayaking on whitewater streams in Centre County is enjoyed for recreation and competitive sport. Canoe clubs are organized around both activities, and county paddlers have achieved success on both the national and international levels, including medals held at world championships.

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