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.

The mission of the encyclopedia is to share reliable and current information about significant events, people, places, and things in Centre County’s rich history. To do that, we collaborate with local contributors, use the latest technology, and add new resources.

The encyclopedia is evolving. New entries and other materials will be added regularly. Let us know what you think about the encyclopedia and how you are using it. We also welcome your suggestions for entries. We want to make the encyclopedia a valuable resource about Centre County.

Featured Articles

Blue Band

The Penn State Blue Band is the university’s marching band that performs at football games and other major events. The band, which is comprised of more than 300 members, is open to all students at the University Park campus. The Blue Band began as the Cadet Bugle Corps in 1899. First-year student George Herbert Deike, […]

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Penn State Football

Penn State fielded its first organized football team in 1887 — just 11 years after the rules of the sport were established — and the school has had a team ever since. Penn State’s football program has been among the most successful in the country, earning 902 victories through 2020 and winning national championships in […]

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Bellefonte Central Railroad

During its ninety-year lifespan, the Bellefonte Central Railroad hauled nearly 16 million tons of Centre County limestone and lime to connecting railroads for distribution to industrial customers in a dozen states. For more than five decades, the railroad also made daily passenger round trips to State College, providing an important transportation link for the growing […]

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Duffy’s Tavern

Duffy’s Tavern is a historic eating and drinking establishment in the village of Boalsburg that is now in its third century. The tavern was built in 1819 on the diamond by Colonel James Johnston, who envisioned a place for lodging and food at the crossroads of the two major stagecoach routes in Harris Township. Originally […]

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Grange Encampment and Fair

The Centre County Grange Encampment and Fair, known popularly as the Grange Fair, is a nine-day tenting fair held each summer at Grange Park in Centre Hall. Generations of Centre County families have been attending the fair, many camping in the iconic canvas tents. The first fair took place on September 24, 1874, in Leech’s […]

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Movie Theaters

Public motion picture screenings in Centre County paralleled the growth of the movies as a popular form of public entertainment in rural and small-town America in the first half of the 20th century, and their transformation to part of a wider range of entertainment in the late 20th and early 21st century.  It is likely […]

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Sherman Lutz

Sherman Lutz was an aviator, flight instructor, and advocate of commercial flight in Centre County. Born in 1903 and raised on a dairy farm in Fillmore, Lutz learned to fly as a teenager in a biplane owned by a Pleasant Gap automobile mechanic, Henry Noll. After stints as a barnstormer and as an airplane mechanics […]

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Union Church

Union Church, better known as the “Old Mud Church,” is landmark in Philipsburg, Pennsylvania, that initially served as town’s first schoolhouse and place of worship for all denominations.

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