Welcome

Below you will find details about visiting the Centre Furnace Mansion and the Boogersburg School

CCHS Office Hours: 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Monday-Friday

Centre Furnace Mansion Tour Hours: Tour hours are 1:00-4:00 p.m. Sunday, Wednesday, Friday and led by volunteer docents. We encourage you to pre-schedule your tour by clicking on the button below or call us at 814-234-4779, walk-ins are also welcome. Mansion tours are free and open to the public; donations are appreciated (suggested donation $4.00/person.) Please allow 1 hour for a tour. The Centre Furnace Mansion is wheelchair-accessible on the ground and first floors. The second floor is only accessible by stairs. Please notify us if any of your guests require special assistance.

We welcome group tours: For groups with over 8 guests including family and friend groups, special interest, school or scout groups, please call us to schedule at 814-234-4779. We can help tailor a tour to your needs during or outside of regular tour times. See additional details below.

The Mansion is closed in observance of most Federal Holidays. Please call ahead if you are unsure whether we are open.

We offer a few tips to help you plan your visit:

  • We encourage visitors to schedule in advance if possible. Call us at 814-234-4779 or schedule your tour online by clicking the button above.
  • If you are feeling ill, please take care of yourself and others by rescheduling your tour another time.
  • Hand sanitizer is readily available and encouraged upon entering.

Garden & Grounds Hours: Dawn to dusk, the gardens and walking paths at the Mansion and Furnace Stack are open to the public. Interpretive signs are found along the trails. 

Boogersburg One-Room Schoolhouse: Grounds open dawn to dusk. Tours by appointment during warmer months from mid March to mid October. The school is not heated. An annual open house is held each September. Check the events calendar for details and the date.

Directions to CCHS locations

Boogersburg School is located at 1021 Fox Hill Road, 2.5 miles from the Centre Furnace Mansion. From the intersection of Porter Road and Park Avenue, head north across Park Ave. onto Fox Hill Road. Proceed straight 1.5 miles. The road will take a sharp turn to the right. Then Boogersburg School is 150 yards ahead on the right.

Centre Furnace Mansion (Centre County Historical Society office) is located at 1001 East College Avenue, at the corner of East College Avenue (Route 26) and Porter Road – on the southeast corner of the Penn State Campus (1 mile from downtown State College, and 1 mile from Beaver Stadium). The Mansion is set back from the road, behind several historic trees. Our parking lot is available off of Porter Road.

Find us on Google Maps

CATA Bus Service: From Downtown State College/Campus – BLUE LOOP to Parking Lot 43 East stop 282, then walk less than a mile south (free); CATA bus route CC to stop 171 or 160 at Tailgate on College Avenue ($2.20), the Mansion is to the left of/behind Esber’s Rugs. Driving or rideshare is recommended.

From Philadelphia: Take the PA Turnpike I-76W towards Harrisburg. Take the Harrisburg East exit and follow I-283 to I-83. Proceed north on I-83 to the I-81 interchange. Follow I-81W to the Route 322/22W exit. Proceed on Route 322W through Lewistown to State College. Take the Route 26/E. College Avenue exit. Turn left at the traffic light onto E. College Avenue. Travel 1 mile. Just past the Hampton Inn, turn right at the traffic light (Porter Road). Make the first right into Centre Furnace Mansion’s parking lot.

From Pittsburgh: Take Route 22E to I-99N/Route 220N, towards Altoona. Merge onto Route 220N/Route 322 towards State College. Bear right to follow Route 322 E/Mount Nittany Expressway. Take the Route 26/E. College Avenue exit. Turn right at the light at the end of the ramp. Travel 1 mile. Just past the Hampton Inn, turn right at the traffic light (Porter Road). Make the first right into Centre Furnace Mansion’s parking lot.

From New York City: Take I-80 W to PA. In Pennsylvania, take the 220S exit towards Route 322 and Bellefonte. From 220S, take the Penn State Univ. / Visitor’s Center exit. Merge right onto Park Avenue heading west. At the traffic light at Beaver Stadium, turn left on Porter Road. Proceed up the hill to a stop sign. Go straight. Proceed 3/4 of a mile down the hill. Centre Furnace Mansion’s parking lot is the last turn on your left before the traffic light.

School & Group Tours of the Centre Furnace Mansion

CCHS can customize a tour for your group, based on your interests and needs. General tours of the Mansion are led by experienced docents and include an overview of the charcoal iron industry in Centre County, Centre Furnace and its connection to Penn State, a tour of the ironmaster’s furnished Mansion and, weather permitting, a walk to the Furnace stack. Tour emphasis can also focus on the furnishings, architecture, and gardens as well. Tours generally last about 60-90 minutes, depending on your group needs. General admission is free (suggested donation of $4/person.) To schedule a tour please allow at least two weeks notice.

Make your reservation! Call CCHS at 814-234-4779.

For Group Tours please provide:

  • Name of your school or organization
  • Contact person’s name, telephone number and/or email
  • Number of guests in your group
  • Grade or age levels
  • Preferred dates and times for tours (including length of tour, topics of interest)
  • Any special needs

We can accommodate up to 20 visitors in a group. Upon arrival, groups will need to be divided into two subsets of 10 or less visitors before you start the tour. At least one adult group/school chaperone is required for every 10 youth and must accompany the group/groups at all times.

How do I use the archives or make a research request?

Archives Use: Researchers requesting use of archival records should make an appointment at least 2 days ahead by calling the office at (814) 234–4779. Our volunteer researchers will do a preliminary search, and pull records to assist you.

Research Requests: Requests for research can be made by contacting the office at (814) 234–4779. The research is conducted by volunteers, so please allow at least 2 weeks for processing. Photocopy and digitization fees may apply.

What are the holiday hours?

Holidays: The CCHS office and Centre Furnace Mansion are closed on Easter weekend, Thanksgiving Day, most National public holidays and the week between Christmas and New Year’s. CCHS office hours will resume the first weekday after New Year’s while Mansion tours will resume mid January.

What is the CCHS snow/inclement weather policy?

Inclement Weather: CCHS follows the delays / closings of the State College School District. Please view the school district’s website for details about weather delays, early dismissals, or closings. Many of our visitors travel from afar. Because of the surrounding mountains and variations in precipitation with the changing elevations, do not hesitate to contact our office to see what the weather is in our backyard: (814) 234-4779.

Centre Furnace Mansion

Centre Furnace Mansion

The Centre Furnace Mansion serves as headquarters for the Centre County Historical Society. The Mansion, the ironmaster’s residence for Centre Furnace, has been restored and is furnished to reflect the period of residency of ironmaster Moses Thompson and his family, 1842-1891. A mansion in miniature, identical to the original and scaled one inch to one foot, is on permanent display.

Centre Furnace site includes the Centre Furnace Mansion, furnace stack, and surrounding eight acres. This National Register site represents a small portion of the late 18th-century ironmaking village once located here. Its interpretation is based on historical documentation and archaeological research, and includes carefully landscaped grounds with walkways and period gardens. 

Flower and side view of Centre Furnace Mansion

Centre Furnace Mansion Gardens

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 in which the mansion has been restored.

The Centre County Historical Society received the Mansion and approximately two acres through a bequest in 1978. Beginning in 1983-1984, the restoration of the Mansion and plans for the recovery of the gardens and grounds were underway. With the help of landscape architects, historians, and horticulturists, the gardens were researched, sited, thoughtfully designed, and cared for by dedicated Historical Society volunteers and part time gardening staff. Another nearly seven acres was added to the property in the 1990s, through purchase, a gift, and a long-term lease agreement with Penn State. With this growth and over time, there became an increasing need for consistent and more volunteer support in the gardens. In 2001, with help from volunteers from the local PSU Master Gardeners of Centre County Cooperative Extension, the Centre Furnace Mansion Garden Committee formed to maintain and develop the gardens and garden programming. 

Exterior of iron furnace

Centre Furnace Stack

Still visible today, the Furnace was established in 1791 by Revolutionary War veterans Samuel Miles and John Patton who selected this prime location in the Nittany Valley, an area rich with iron ore. Centre Furnace first went into “blast” and began producing iron in 1792 using very simple technology. Workers layered the raw ingredients into this 35-foot furnace stack, made of native stone. First a burning hearth was created in the stack by filling it with charcoal. Then the furnace was “put in blast” by releasing the water wheel-powered bellows to blow a blast of air through the hearth. Iron ore, charcoal, and limestone were added from the top in alternate layers.

The Furnace and resulting iron industry fueled local development, the creation and naming of Centre County, and ultimately the formation of The Pennsylvania State University and the development of the Borough of State College on furnace lands.

Exterior of the Boogersburg school house

Boogersburg School

On May 1, 1877, Moses Thompson, the ironmaster and owner of Centre Furnace, deeded property along what is now Fox Hill Road for the Boogersburg School.  The schoolhouse was built that same year.  Thompson wanted to ensure an education for the children of his tenant farmers who lived over two miles from the iron village.  For the next 75 years, the Boogersburg School served first through eighth grade youth during some very significant times in our nation’s history.

In 2004, the school was given to the Centre County Historical Society by Society members Bob Struble and Susan Crary. Prior to 2004, the school was closed for many years, then used as an art studio by sculptor Sybil Grucci, until its purchase by the Strubles. The Strubles, recipients of a 2003 CCHS Historic Preservation Award, have beautifully restored and furnished the building for use in interpreting school life in the late 19th and early 20th centuries.

It has become a favorite museum resource for the many local elementary school children who have visited the school to experience a typical late 19th century school day.  With the help of our volunteer “school marms”, we welcome hundreds of school children every year.  CCHS looks forward to continuing to offer rich educational experiences and opportunities for children (and adults) that the Strubles have so successfully initiated and carried out.

The Boogersburg School is located on Fox Hill Road in Patton Township.