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Centre Furnace

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c. 1800, 1846, c. 1870. 1001 E. College Ave.

A small two-room log structure on this site listed in the 1798 Direct Tax records may have formed the core of a substantial, banked, five-bay brick house built a few years later by General John Patton, one of the county's first ironmasters. The mansion's symmetrical facade and the central-hall plan represented its owners' consciousness of the prevalent Georgian style. The banked, rough-cut stone basement level accommodated the kitchen used for feeding the furnace workforce. After a period of decline, local entrepreneur Moses Thompson took up residence in the mansion, and added a two-story ell with a kitchen and bedroom above. The two cross gables and a bracketed porch were added c. 1870. Now restored to its late-nineteenth-century appearance, the house accommodates the county historical society. At the intersection of College Avenue and Porter Road, the remains of the Centre Furnace (1847) include a tapering stone stack. The furnace was used in the manufacture of pig iron until the Panic of 1857 forced a halt in production. In 1855, Moses Thompson and James Irvin donated two hundred acres to open the Farmer's High School of Pennsylvania that later became Pennsylvania State University ( CE16).

Writing Credits

Lu Donnelly et al.


What's Nearby


Lu Donnelly et al., "Centre Furnace", [State College, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 1

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Pittsburgh and Western Pennsylvania, Lu Donnelly, H. David Brumble IV, and Franklin Toker. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2010, 352-353.

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