Limestone has played an essential role in Centre County’s economic history. Widely used for both industrial and agricultural purposes, limestone has been mined in the county for more than 200 years.
Before European colonists arrived, Pennsylvania was an estimated 97 percent forested. Centre County is in an ecological region in which the aboriginal forest was dominated by white pine and hemlock, both of which had lucrative industrial applications that attracted colonists and entrepreneurs.
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.
The presence and impact of Native Americans in what is today Centre County is a matter of both history and popular imagination. Evidence indicates that the region between the West Branch of the Susquehanna and the Juniata Rivers was primarily an area of hunting and transit for Native Americans.
Mount Nittany is probably Centre County’s most famous geographical feature. Thanks to the Penn State football team fans across the country are familiar with the name and image of the iconic ridge. As a result, Mount Nittany has become an integral part of the lore and identity of the school and region since the mid-nineteenth century.
Black Moshannon State Park is a 3,394-acre park in Rush Township that conserves a unique natural environment surrounding Black Moshannon Lake. According to tradition, Native Americans called the area Mos’hanna’unk, which means “elk river place.”
Spring Creek Canyon is an 1,800-acre recreation area in Benner Township popular for fly-fishing, hiking, bicycling, and hunting. The six miles of trout stream within its boundaries are a destination for fishermen from around the world.