Research Articles

In 1764, James Potter was the first to record his exploration of the area. Having reached the top of Nittany Mountain, and “….seeing the prairies and noble forest beneath him, cried out to his attendant, ‘By heavens, Thompson, I have discovered an empire!'”

  • Bellefonte February 22nd, 1855

    To the Executive Committee of the Penna. State Agricultural Society

    Gentlemen

    Feeling a deep interest in the early and efficient organization of the Farmers High School of Pennsylvania, I have observed with pleasure that the Legislature […]

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  • Centre Furnace ironmasters James Irvin and Moses Thompson’s longest-lasting contribution to the economic well-being of Centre County was not iron, but support of agriculture and education. In 1855 their offer of land and money beat out six other counties vying […]

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    THE CENTRE REGION College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, Harris, Patton Townships
    State College Borough College Township was the last of the Centre Region townships to be established. It was created from parts of Benner and Harris […]

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  • An Alphabetical Look at Places and Spaces Centre County was formed on February 13, 1800, from parts of Huntingdon, Lycoming, Mifflin, and Northumberland counties and named for its central location in the state. Click on the letter below to open up the information. A Aaronsburg (Haines) – Philadelphia land speculator Aaron Levy laid out the village [...]

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  • Located in the center of Pennsylvania, Centre County lies on a striking landscape overlaid with history. Rock and water shape the surface. The County is divided diagonally almost equally into two parts, bisected by the Allegheny Front:

    […]

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  •  Charcoal Iron Furnace/Forge Locations in Centre County

    (In some cases dates approximate)

    Furnace/Forge Location Owners Remains Municipality Centre Furnace(1792-1809;1826-1858) Thompson Run (Willy Brook)East College Avenue and Porter Road (1) John Patton& Samuel Miles(2) James Irvin& Moses […]

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  • Some basic techniques and resources required for researching a historic property. Whether the research is intended for personal or academic interest, or for the nomination of a property to the National Register of Historic Places,the following information will help the […]

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    Moses Thompson (1810 – Jun. 19, 1891)

    Moses Thompson was born in 1810 on a farm along Branch Road (near the current Hills Plaza). He married Mary Irvin on January 4, 1838, and with her had six children […]

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  • In 1894, Fanny Atherton’s love of learning and dedication to community well being merged in her interest to establish a Woman’s Literary Club for State College. She wanted to improve the lives of State College women by providing them with […]

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  • A Penn Stater through and through, Mary Louisa Willard was born on campus in the Moffat Cottage, presently the location of the West Wing of Pattee Library. Willard’s father, Joseph Moody Willard, is the professor for whom Willard Building is […]

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  • (b. 1872)

    The Centre County Women’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) was organized in 1884, and Rebecca Rhoads, president of the organization from 1915-1926, brought much to the vitality of its cause. A native of Bellefonte and a major leader behind […]

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  • (1752 – 1832)

    Jane Davis Patton, the wife of Centre Furnace ironmaster John Patton, was born in Philadelphia in 1752. He was a prominent Philadelphian, a Revolutionary War officer, and a member of George Washington’s Life Guard. He also was […]

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  • (b. 1836)

    Mary Harris Morris, daughter of ironmaster Joseph Harris and Jane Stalker Miller, was born at the Howard Iron Works on August 5, 1836. She was the granddaughter of Ann Dunlop Harris, daughter and wife of the founders of […]

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  • (1742 – 1797)

    Catherine Wister Miles, the wife of Centre Furnace co-owner Samuel Miles, was born into a prominent Philadelphia area family in 1742. In 1761 she married Colonel Miles. He was a military officer and political figure who served […]

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  • (1881 – 1958)

    Myrtle Magargel of Pleasant Gap was one of several correspondents to the State College Times before it became a daily newspaper in 1934. She handled the Pleasant Gap personals and community news items. Magargel is certainly better […]

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  • (1889 – 1943)

    Anna Wagner Keichline, born in Bellefonte in 1889, was Pennsylvania’s first registered woman architect. Her first architectural project was the design of a schoolhouse in Milesburg. Not only can one find her building projects in central Pennsylvania, […]

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  • A curious, yet intriguing story found in John Blair Linn’s 1883 History of Centre and Clinton Counties, tells the tale of a beautiful young aeronaut named Lizzie Ihling, and her celebrated visit to Centre County. Linn’s story includes Miss Ihling’s […]

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  • (1765 – 1844)

    Ann Dunlop Harris was a woman of paramount importance in the development of the community of Bellefonte. Born in Shippensburg, Cumberland County, on March 14, 1765, Harris was the daughter and the wife of the town’s two […]

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  • (1875 – 1963)

    Sarah Lucinda Hall, better known as Lucy Hall, was a Bellefonte woman who made her own memorable contributions to the American war effort during World War II. Hall did this by seeing off hundreds of Centre County […]

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  • (1900 – 1996)

    The small Centre County community of Snow Shoe has very fond memories of Vivian David. David spent her childhood there and then returned each summer as an adult. In 1988 she made a generous gift to the […]

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  • A list of properties or districts, their address and the date listed in the historic register.

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  • Centre County was, for the first half century or so of its history, cut off from more populated areas of Pennsylvania by the “Endless Mountains,” the long folded Appalachians that can be seen from nearly every point in the County.

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  • Blumenson, John. Identifying American Architecture: Pictorial Guide to Styles and Terms, 1600-1945. Nashville: American Association for State & Local History, 1977.

    Carley, Rachel. Visual Dictionary of American Domestic Architecture. New York: Henry Holt, 1994.

    Downing, Andrew Jackson. The Architecture of […]

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  • John Patton (1792-1798)

    Centre Furnace co-founder John Patton appears to have been the original resident of Centre Furnace. His partner, Samuel Miles, lived outside Philadelphia and traveled to Centre County, but never lived here. Patton sold his interest in Centre […]

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  • bar iron: a smaller size of raw iron than a pig, easier to handle by blacksmiths. Some bar iron also went to rolling mills, which rolled the iron into much smaller thicknesses, or slitting mills, which made iron rods for […]

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  • Read about the descriptions of what people did, and who did those jobs in the Iron industry in Centre County.

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  • The documented history of the region began when original land warrants, tracts of land conveyed by William Penn’s domain, were transferred to private ownership. By 1774-75 twenty-three tracts at the foot of Mount Nittany had been surveyed and conveyed. Five […]

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  • Native Americans

    Native Americans – Delaware, Shawnee, Mingo, Iroquois – flourished in the early history of Centre County, planting the valleys in corn and squash, and hunting in the ridges. Their paths through the valleys and the water gaps were […]

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  • Susanna CarsonFrom the Bellefonte Patriot
    March, 1818

    Caution:
    “Whereas my wife Susanna, having left my bed and board, without any just cause; this is therefore to forewarn all persons from trusting her on my account, as I am determined […]

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  • Sylvia Beach
    (1887 – 1962)

    The 1920s were the great vintage years for American writers. There was a tremendous amount of talent in Paris then, and my shop seemed to be a gathering place for most of it. There […]

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  • The Centre Furnace Mansion was where the Centre Furnace ironmaster and his family resided Here, the ironmaster could oversee the operations of the furnace business, located within view from the southwest corner of the house. It is appropriately called a mansion, since a mansion is the largest house in a village. This was the largest [...]

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  • John Ziegler & Grant Sherritt, retired Professors in the College of Agriculture at Penn State, have been fast friends for 60 years now. In fact they live 2 blocks from one another in State College, PA. Part of their rich […]

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