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Features and Sketches

The Train Station

The first depot on the site dated from 1864 and served trains from the Pennsylvania Railroad’s newly constructed Bald Eagle Valley line that ran between Tyrone and Lock Haven. Twenty years later, when the PRR was building a 67-mile branch from Lewisburg that would enter Bellefonte from the east and connect at the station to the Bald Eagle line, Bellefonte’s citizens demanded improvements. In those days, a train station was a community’s front porch. The "Centre Democrat" newspaper lambasted the rickety wooden structure as “a miserable old shed of a depot that would be a disgrace to a way-station on a coal road.” Pressure for a finer station grew even more intense when a new railroad—soon to be known as the Bellefonte Central—began operating between Bellefonte and the Pennsylvania State College. It, too, used that “miserable old shed,” which townsfolk feared would present an image of ugliness to sophisticates traveling to or from the college.

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Local authors publish book on Bellefonte Central Railroad

The Bellefonte Central Railroad operated in Centre County, Pennsylvania, and was a transportation lifeline for the county’s lime and stone industry, and for the community of State College and the Pennsylvania State University. It began life in 1886 as the Buffalo Run, Bellefonte, and Bald Eagle Railroad and was reorganized as the Bellefonte Central in 1892. It interchanged with the Pennsylvania Railroad at Bellefonte. Hard-pressed by competing modes of transportation and changes in the regional economy, the Bellefonte Central ran its last train in 1982 and was abandoned in 1984.

Local authors Mike Bezilla and Jack Rudnicki have just published a new history of this key element of the growth of Centre County. Read more about the railroad here....

Purchase Online Rails to Penn State: The Story of the Bellefonte Central.

Penn State history in Bellefonte

A number of leaders who helped to found Penn State and shape its early development are buried in Bellefonte's Union Cemetery, a 20-minute drive from the University Park campus. Bellefonte, the seat of Centre County, was the region's political, cultural, and economic hub in the nineteenth century. Union Cemetery is located between High and Howard Streets, one block east of the Court House.

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