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 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.
The Penn State barbershop boycott, organized by the NAACP, was a campaign of nonviolent action against the discriminatory practices of six barbershops in downtown State College. With the support of hundreds of Black and White students, the event was the first major civil rights protest at Penn State.
The Gamble Mill, located near the Lamb Street bridge in Bellefonte, was a water-powered gristmill built more than two centuries ago. It was an important part of the history of Bellefonte and of the more than 150 years of grain milling in Centre County.
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 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.
Scotia was the scene of iron ore mining from the late 1700s to the 1940s, supplying ore to Centre County’s early iron furnaces and, years later, to Andrew Carnegie’s Pittsburgh steel mills.The iron pits are part of a larger area now known as the Scotia Barrens, covering parts of Half Moon, Patton, and Ferguson townships.
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.
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.