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.

With high school football underway, we are featuring articles about Memorial Field, the historic home of State College Area High School athletic programs, and the "Old Iron Kettle," the coveted trophy that for decades was awarded to the winner of the Bellefonte-State College football game. You can also read new articles about Centre Furnace, the first charcoal furnace in what would become Centre County, and Unionville, which was founded as a Quaker settlement, as well as other articles.

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

Featured Articles

Memorial Field

Memorial Field is the historic home of State College Area High School athletic programs and other community events. Once a farmer’s field with a prominent sinkhole on the edge of the borough, the area around what is now Memorial Field became the home to State College schools starting with a two-story, four-room schoolhouse that opened in 1897.

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Old Iron Kettle

The “Old Iron Kettle” is the coveted trophy that from 1941 to 1972 was awarded to the winner of the Bellefonte-State College football game. As the two largest high schools in Centre County, Bellefonte and State College had a passionate rivalry for decades. The winner of the game proudly got to keep and display the kettle.

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Barbershop Boycott

The Penn State barbershop boycott, organized by the NAACP, was a campaign of nonviolent action against the discriminatory practices of six barbershops in downtown State College. With the support of hundreds of Black and White students, the event was the first major civil rights protest at Penn State.

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Boal Mansion

The Boal Mansion is the ancestral home of one of Centre County’s most distinguished families. Since 1952, it has been operated as a museum.

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Centre Furnace

Centre Furnace was the first charcoal iron furnace in what would become Centre County. The remains of the furnace stack on East College Avenue are a reminder of the role the iron industry played in the early decades of the county’s history.

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Moshannon State Forest

Moshannon State Forest is a 190,000-acre forest in the Allegheny Plateau region of central Pennsylvania, managed by the Commonwealth for both ecosystem preservation and the production of timber for sale.

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Unionville

Unionville was founded as a Quaker settlement and for decades was one of the lumber-producing centers of the Bald Eagle Valley.  Located five miles west of Milesburg, the town is on the State Road from Philadelphia where it climbs the Allegheny Front to Philipsburg and eventually to Erie.

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Wally Triplett

Wallace “Wally” Triplett was a trailblazing Penn State athlete who was the first Black student to earn a varsity letter on the football team and the first drafted by a National Football League team.

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