Native Americans

The presence and impact of Native Americans in what is today Centre County is a matter of both history and popular imagination. In the millennia before European contact with indigenous Americans, archaeology provides the evidence on which to base an understanding of the culture and history of these peoples. From the sixteenth century onward, historical […]

Mount Nittany

Mount Nittany is probably Centre County’s most famous geographical feature.  Thanks to the Penn State football team, which plays in the “vale of old Mt. Nittany,” fans across the country are familiar with the name and image of the iconic ridge that rises above the Penn State campus and State College.  As a result, Mount […]

Pennsylvania Furnace

Pennsylvania Furnace, founded in 1813 on the western edge of Ferguson Township, was one of the longest-operating ironworks in Centre County. The furnace survived ownership changes and economic downturns to continue producing pig iron until 1888. John Lyon built the furnace along a tributary of Spruce Creek to take advantage of the rich iron ore […]

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 of Philadelphia opened “Jack’s Road House” at the corner of College Avenue and Allen Street. At the time, the hotel was a stage stop and a resting place for travelers waiting for […]

Iron Production

The eighteen ironworks that operated across Centre County throughout the nineteenth century, including Centre Furnace, Rock Ironworks, Eagle Ironworks, Logan Furnace, Harmony Forge, and Pennsylvania Furnace, followed practices developed in Europe centuries earlier. The county had all the resources necessary for making iron: timber, limestone, and iron ore. It also had two major streams, Bald […]

Union Cemetery

Union Cemetery in Bellefonte is one of the oldest cemeteries in Centre County and the resting place of many of the county’s early notable leaders. The first known burial took place in 1808, and the cemetery was chartered in 1856. Beginning with five acres on Howard Street, it has expanded over the years to nearly […]

Militia Companies

Militias played a central role in antebellum Centre County, teaching men military discipline and arms skills to ensure their readiness for war. The volunteer companies also served as fraternal organizations that linked members to the communities. The first militias in the county were in the mode of a centuries-old militia tradition that English settlers had […]

Bellefonte Art Museum

The Bellefonte Art Museum for Centre County showcases the work of artists from Centre County and around the world. It also hosts regular art classes and talks. The museum is in the Linn House, which was built in 1810 by Philip Benner and is in the Bellefonte National Register of Historic Places District. During its […]

James A. Beaver

James Addams Beaver was a widely known attorney, a Civil War officer, and the governor of Pennsylvania from 1887-1891. He also played a leading role in Penn State’s early decades and served as interim president for two years; today, the football stadium bears his name. Beaver was born on October 21, 1837, in Millerstown, Perry […]

Cold Stream Dam

The Cold Stream Dam is a popular recreation spot on state Road 322 in Philipsburg. Throughout its history, the dam has suffered mishaps, most notably in 1936, when it broke and water flooded the downtown. However, the dam has weathered the problems and survived to remain an important local resource. A lake was created in […]