Introduction to State College, Pennsylvania
State College is a Pennsylvania borough located in Centre County. It is home to the Pennsylvania State University, more often referred to as Penn State, whose influence is greatly felt in State College's economics, demographics, and history. Originally a village, then a township, State College developed around the university (then known as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania) in the mid-1800s. Incorporated as a borough in 1896, the town never really had a name, although several (including "McAllister", "Nittany" and "Irvin", all honoring prominent citizens) were considered. The designation of "State College" finally stuck and remains today.
State College, affectionately referred to as "Happy Valley", is located 42 miles northeast of Altoona, 86 miles northeast of Johnstown, and 90 miles northwest of Harrisburg. The city of Pittsburgh is 136 miles to the west and Philadelphia 193 miles to the east, placing State College roughly in the middle of the state's two most prominent cities. Because of this centralized location, sports rivalries between Pittsburgh teams and Philadelphia teams are most intensely felt here. State College is served by the following highways: Interstate 80, U.S. Route 220, U.S. Route 322, and Pennsylvania State Highways 26 and 45. One of the area's major employers is AccuWeather, the world's largest private weather forecasting service, which originated in State College and is still based there.
State College Points of Interest
There are several things to do and see in and near State College. Following is a partial list:
- Shaver's Creek Environmental Center: Penn State's nature center, which features hiking trails, picnic areas, a Discovery Room (with snakes, turtles, etc), and a Raptor Center, with twenty birds of prey.
- Penn's Cave: America's only all-water cavern and wildlife park.
- Centre Furnace Mansion and Village: Restored and furnished to reflect the period of residency of ironmaster Moses Thompson and his family (1842 - 1891).
- Frost Entomological Museum: Houses Penn State's insect and related arthropod collections.
- Matson Museum of Anthropology: Located on the Penn State campus.
- The Arboretum at Penn State
- Palmer Museum of Art: A free-admission arts resource on the Penn State campus.
- The Pennsylvania Military Museum: Commemorates the men and women of all service branches from the early French and Indian War through more recent conflicts.
- Altoona Railroaders Memorial Museum: Celebrates the significant contributions of railroaders to American life and industry.
- Mifflinburg Buggy Museum: An authentic original buggy-making shop with belting and pulleys, tools, machinery and forges.
- Mount Nittany Vineyard and Winery.
College football fans can stay right at home to see some of the finest teams in the country play the Penn State Nittany Lions, a perennial college football powerhouse. Baseball fans can enjoy the State College Spikes, a class-A (short season) Minor League Baseball team playing in the New York Penn League. The Spikes have been affiliated with the St. Louis Cardinals, but as of 2007 they will become a Pittsburgh Pirates affiliate.
For the price of a short drive, baseball fans have other options too. Altoona, less than an hour away, is home to the Altoona Curve, a class-AA minor league affiliate of the Pirates. The city of Harrisburg, less than two hours away, is home to the Harrisburg Senators, a class-AA minor league affiliate of the Washington Nationals.