Inspiration for the Centre Furnace Mansion gardens reflects the styles that began in the 19th century when Ironmaster Moses Thompson and his family lived in the Mansion. The property is tucked into a hillside, secluded by large spruce, maple, walnut and sycamore trees. But it is a 250-year-old sycamore tree that dominates the landscape graced with gardens and expanses of lawn, as would have been common in the Victorian Era. Plantings have been chosen to suggest what would have been available to 19th century gardeners, with some exceptions, if period offerings were not available.
The gardens and grounds are open to visitors from dawn to dusk.
- Click on the map to locate individual gardens, listed on the right.
- Click on the garden name to the right to learn more about the individual bed.
With the help of the Centre Furnace Mansion Garden Committee, coordinated by volunteers Katie Frieden and Beverly Lipski, the gardens remain a vital part of the Centre Furnace Mansion property, teeming with hundreds of varieties of perennials, herbs and roses. The gardens also benefit from the hard work of volunteer students from two Penn State departments – Landscape Contracting and Integrative Arts. Other service groups that contribute to the Centre Furnace Mansion and its grounds include the PNC Bank-United Way Day of Caring, Blue Mountain Quality Resources and Penn State volunteers– Service Learning Coordinators, Fresh START, Humphrey Fellows and the Homecoming Committee.
Our vision with the Centre Furnace Mansion gardens is not to attempt to replicate what may have been on the property (since much of the original landscape has disappeared over time), but to add plant material that may have been used in the Victorian era in Centre County; to maintain and expand the Kitchen Garden and perennial beds; and to focus on creating educational opportunities and materials associated with the gardens and how gardening may have looked in the mid nineteenth century here in central Pennsylvania.
Credit for the gardens goes to the hard work, leadership and weekly persistence of the Centre Furnace Mansion Gardeners. The service and contributions generously given by many individuals, organizations and businesses in the community make the gardens at the Centre Furnace Mansion possible.