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 […]

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 […]

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 […]

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.

Potter-Allison Farm

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 […]

Penn’s Cave

Penn’s Cave near Centre Hall is a natural limestone cave that has been a popular tourist attraction for more than 130 years. Visitors tour the 1,300-foot-long, water-filled cave by flat-bottom boats. Some of the stalactites and stalagmites appear to resemble sculptures such as the Statue of Liberty and natural landmarks like the Rock of Gibraltar […]

Philip Benner

Philip Benner was an early business leader in Centre County who established the Rock Ironworks, one of the first iron forges in the county. Benner was born in Chester County in 1762 and served in the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. After the war, he operated an iron forge in Chester County. He married […]

Aaron Levy

Aaron Levy portrait

Aaron Levy (1742-1815) was a Jewish immigrant who arrived in America from the Netherlands and donated land for a church and school in the Centre County village that became Aaronsburg in 1786. The goodwill behind the donation of the land to the group of German Christian immigrants who settled the community, along with a gift […]

Black Moshannon State Park

Black Moshannon State Park is a 3,394-acre park in Rush Township that conserves a unique natural environment surrounding Black Moshannon Lake. The park, which sits atop the Allegheny Front at an elevation of 1,900 feet, was established in 1937 after the Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC) built a dam, log cabins, picnic pavilions, and trails. According […]