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.
College Heights Exxon in State College is the oldest continuously operating service station in Centre County. The distinctive station was built by John N. and G. Dewey Krumrine on land that had been part of the Krumrine family farm in what is now the College Heights neighborhood.
John Patton was a Revolutionary War veteran and prosperous Philadelphia merchant and civic leader, who moved to Centre County in 1789 to build the region’s first charcoal-fired iron furnace, Centre Furnace. The operation’s success sparked the founding of additional furnaces and forges in what would become Centre County.
A pressing need to transport freight and people led to the building of Centre County’s only canal by the Bald Eagle and Spring Creek Navigation Company.
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.
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.