Going back to its very beginnings more than 200 years ago, we see that the “mansion” was anything but grand! Philadelphians John Patton and Samuel Miles came to this part of Pennsylvania’s unsettled frontier to make iron. They put Centre Furnace “into blast” in 1792, and an ironmaking village grew up around the furnace. According to early tax records, General John Patton and his family, the first to live at Centre Furnace, made their home in a log structure.
Moses and Mary Irvin Thompson moved into the Mansion in 1842. A General William Houston was part owner and lived at Centre Furnace (and we assume in the Mansion) in the 1830s. Joseph Green, Jr. and J. Miles Green, relatives of Colonel Samuel Miles, both served as Centre Furnace managers during the 1830s and may have lived here during that period. Joseph Green, Sr. was a carpenter who came with the Miles’ from Chester County in the 1790s. He is reputed to be the builder of the furnace stack and may also have built the Mansion. According to John Blair Linn (History of Centre and Clinton Counties), he did build the furnace and his house in Milesburg.
The kitchen ell, according to a date in the attic, was added in 1846.
To demonstrate their modern fashion tastes, the Thompsons Victorianized their front rooms with large windows and slate mantels, while the back bedrooms maintained their simple Georgian look with original mantels and six-over-nine pane windows.
“The Mansion hosted many meetings and guests of the college in those early days. All of these past links are recognized on a Penn State historical marker at the mansion honoring Moses Thompson. Those connections between Penn State and Centre Furnace Mansion still continue through the many University volunteers and student interns who serve the CCHS through its board, committees, and by work on special projects and events.”