Harmony Forge, built in 1795 near Milesburg, was one of the first iron forges to operate in what would become Centre County. It flourished as a diversified ironworks but closed in the early 20th century. A mansion built on the site is on the National Register of Historic Places.
When slavery is mentioned in the history of Centre County, it is usually in the context of abolitionism and the Underground Railroad in the decades before the Civil War. However, the county also has its own local history of slavery and slave ownership.
Brockerhoff Mill is a historic grist mill in Benner Township and one of only two brick mill buildings still standing in Centre County. Daniel Turner developed the area around the mill on the west side of Spring Creek near Bellefonte in the 1790s, building a forge, sawmill, and gristmill. However, by 1801 the enterprise had […]
General James Potter was a Pennsylvania military and political leader and frontier land developer, who is best known in Centre County for the exploratory trek that led him to the crest of Mount Nittany, overlooking Penns Valley, and his declaration that he had discovered an empire.
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, 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 […]
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 the resources necessary for making iron: timber, limestone, and iron ore, along with two major streams, Bald Eagle Creek and Spring Creek.
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 Union Church, better known as the “Old Mud Church,” is a Philipsburg landmark on Presqueisle Street that initially served as the town’s first schoolhouse and place of worship for all denominations. The cemetery’s more than 500 graves include those of a Revolutionary War veteran and thirteen veterans of the Civil War.
The Potter-Allison Farm is an agricultural complex built by General James Potter, one of the first settlers of Penns Valley, and expanded by a 19th century owner, William Allison. The complex, which is on the National Register of Historic Places, comprises the Potter-Allison House, a barn, a springhouse, and six other buildings. General Potter came […]