Logging Industry

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. White pine trees grow tall and straight, making them ideal for masts on […]

Centre Furnace

Centre Furnace was the first charcoal iron furnace in what would become Centre County. The remains of the furnace stack on East College Avenue are a reminder of the role the iron industry played in the early decades of the county’s history.

Boal Mansion

The Boal Mansion is the ancestral home of one of Centre County’s most distinguished families. Since 1952, it has been operated as a museum.

Way Fruit Farm

Way Fruit Farm is a sixth-generation family farm that has expanded to include a retail store and tourism events. The Ways were a pioneering Quaker family that came to the Halfmoon Valley in 1792. Caleb and Jane Way built a farm in Stormstown, and in 1826 one of their children bought 90 acres that became the farm.

McCoy’s Dam

McCoy’s Dam on Spring Creek provided hydroelectric power for Centre County during the first half of the twentieth century. The dam, south of Milesburg, was idled for five decades before being razed in 2007 to improve the creek’s water quality.

Harmony Forge

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.

Slavery

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

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 […]

James Potter

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.

Native Americans

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.