Centre Furnace Mansion & Centre County Historical Society
Built in 1791, this historic home symbolizes the start of the charcoal iron industry for the county--an industry that would shape Centre county in its early years. The Centre County Historical Society is the caretaker for the home and has worked to restore and furnsih the mansion to reflect the era in which ironmaster Moses Thompson and his family lived in the house (1842-1891). The Centre County Historical Society has been preserving and sharing the heritage of Centre County for over a century and has its headquarters in this mansion, which also serves as the county's local history museum in addition to being listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Backstory and Context
Importantly, however, as the industry grew, the need for education also increased. It was Centre Furnace's ironmaster, Moses Thompson, and his business partner James Irvin, who in 1855 donated 200 acres of land to begin the Farmers' High School. Today that school has become The Pennsylvania State University.
The mansion, therefore, holds both industrial and educational symbolism for the region. In addition, as it houses the Centre County Historical Society's offices, library, archives, and rotating exhibitions, it serves as a reminder to the community to maintain its roots with the past.