Central Pennsylvania Stories

– by Ralph Seeley

State College, PA – Central Pennsylvania Stories, a new anthology of 41 historical articles by local historian Ralph Seeley, has just arrived at Centre Furnace Mansion and is now available to the public. Published for the Centre County Historical Society by Mt. Nittany Press, the book’s varied stories cover Centre County and nearby locales from the 17th through 20th centuries.

A Bellefonte resident, Seeley recently retired after 18 years on the Board of Governors of the Centre County Historical Society and has been accorded emeritus status.

“You might ask, what more can be said about Centre County?” Seeley offers in his introduction. “We know that it houses a large university surrounded by a large town that keeps steadily growing. We know that it is a county full of parallel ridges and valleys. We know that the valleys contain a number of villages, mostly small. We know that there is a vibrant farming and deer-hunting culture. We know that there are four public school systems. We know that there is a diversity of churches and belief systems. We know that there are numerous non-profit organizations, more than most counties.”

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“But what do we know of its history?” he asks. “Here we present short stories that provide vignettes of life in the past, stories that will awaken the reader to some understanding of how Centre County came to be.”

What sparked Seeley’s interest in local history was a 1997 article he wrote, “Halfmoon Township: The Experience of Settlement,” for Centre County Heritage, edited by then-Governor Douglas Macneal, who was well known for his histories of Penn’s Valley. That experience, coupled with Ralph’s earlier retirement from Penn State and his familiarity with regional geography, led him to embark on serious historical writing: Foot Trails of the Moshannon and Southern Elk State Forests; Great Buffalo Swamp: a Trail Guide and Historical Record for the Quehanna Plateau and the Moshannon State Forest; and Native People and Their Paths in Central Pennsylvania.

Copies of Central Pennsylvania Stories are available for purchase at the Centre Furnace Mansion or online at CentreHistory.org by clicking on Museum Store/Shop. For more information contact Mary Sorensen at the Centre County Historical Society at 813-234-4779 or email msorensen@centrefurnace.org.

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