Welcome to Hearts in the Highlands! Thank you for visiting.

Hearts in the Highlands is a feature of the Highlands Civic Association Website dedicated to publishing stories about all the amazing facets that make up the Highlands: its history, its people (past and present), its architecture, its religious and cultural institutions, its schools, and its businesses. We hope you will enjoy reading the articles that we post and will return to read other pieces.

We plan to publish new articles as they become available. You will be notified via the Highlands Civic Association’s listserv when new articles are posted. If you have any suggestions for articles that you would like to see as part of Hearts in the Highlands, please do not hesitate to contact any one on the Editorial Board (below).

Anne Cornell (Anne.Cornell@gmail.com), Peg Hambrick (peg.hambrick@gmail.com), Gary Miller (gemsc1@comcast.net), Josh Portney (joshportney1@gmail.com), Eric White (erw2@psu.edu) Editorial Board

Opinions expressed in these essays are those of the authors.

  • Art Imitates Life in the Highlands
    By Ann Pangborn As an artist living in The Highlands neighborhood for almost forty years, I find inspiration everywhere, every single day.  I am primarily a fiber artist, using wool and silk and other fibers and fabrics to make felt fabric wearable and functional art, spinning art yarn, and using botanical elements to eco-print and dye fiber and fabric.  My little studio is a … Continued
  • A Portrait of a Pennsylvania Artist: Stuart H. Frost
    By Katherine Joyce Stuart H. Frost was a quintessentially Pennsylvanian muralist who left quiet traces of his genius behind him. He traveled the world, spreading his art to places as magnificent as Washington, D.C.’s Capitol rotunda, and spent many years utilizing his experience to pass on his deep love of art to younger generations by teaching his craft at The … Continued
  • Memorial Field
    Here is a repost about Memorial Field from the Centre County Historical Society Encyclopedia. By Ronald A. Smith Memorial Field is the historic home of State College Area High School athletic programs and other community events. Once a farmer’s field with a prominent sinkhole on the edge of the borough, the area around what is now Memorial Field became the … Continued
  • The Highlands and the Manhattan Project
    By Carol White and Linda White We have always been interested in the Manhattan Project, as our family was almost involved with it. We’d like to share the family story with you. Our Grandfather, Dr. Marsh W. White, was a Physics professor at Penn State University starting in the 1920’s. He was a member of several organizations of physicists and … Continued
  • Neighbor to Neighbor Benefits All Highlands Residents
    By Dina Liberatore The Highlands community is composed of such a diverse array of people – young and old; students, faculty/staff and retired persons; people who own homes and people who rent; people who have spent a lifetime here and people who are just passing through on their way to a degree. This diversity may make it hard to build … Continued
  • Voting in the Highlands: Election 2023 and Beyond
    By Rick Gilmore All of us shape the future through our actions large and small. One way to shape the future of public policy is to vote. This article provides information about the voting process that may be useful to long-time and first-time voters alike. It is drawn from my nearly 20 years of experience as an election official here … Continued
  • ‘When Passion and Purpose Converge’: Good Day Cafe Celebrates 5 Years
    Note: This article was originally published by StateCollege.com and is reprinted with their permission. Hearts in the Highlands is pleased that the Good Day Cafe in Hamilton Square is part of the Highlands community. By Geoff Rushton – August 18, 2023 Since opening its doors in 2018, Good Day Café has been serving great coffee and food to the State College community, but … Continued
  • A Forever Home in the Highlands
    by Lorie Waters When my husband and I moved back to State College in 2014, we figured it would just be for a couple of years while he established his post-grad school career.  Nine years and two kids later, we’re still here and have been so grateful for the life and home we have established in the Highlands.  Our gratitude … Continued
  • Highlands Pet Parade
    Celebrating Hearts in the Highlands’ 6th anniversary…let the pets eat cake!
  • The Home to the Schlow Centre Region Library
    Our Highlands neighborhood, by virtue of its Beaver Avenue boundary on its north side, enjoys the distinction of being the home to the Schlow Centre Region Library. Here is a repost about the Schlow Centre Region Library from the Centre County Historical Society Encyclopedia. by Sally Heffentreyer Schlow Centre Region Library, established in State College in 1957, serves Centre County … Continued
  • Welcome to the New East Fairmount Park: The Park Our Community Built
    by Eric R. White History On December 10, 1925, J. W. and Anne T. H. Henszey sold a plot of land to be used as open space and for park, playground, and recreational purposes to the Borough of State College School District (now the State College Area School District) for $2,500. On October 18, 1976, the State College Area School … Continued
  • Welcome to the New East Fairmount Park: The Park Our Community Built
    by Eric R. White History On December 10, 1925, J. W. and Anne T. H. Henszey sold a plot of land to be used as open space and for park, playground, and recreational purposes to the Borough of State College School District (now the State College Area School District) for $2,500. On October 18, 1976, the State College Area School … Continued
  • Having a Neighborhood Picnic/Street Party in the Borough of State College
    by Clare Hinrichs and Mark Bergstrom We moved to the East Highlands neighborhood close to 18 years ago and were immediately charmed that our neighbors had a late summer neighborhood picnic/street party on Holly Alley just outside East Fairmount Park. This was a cookout/potluck/hangout that included long-time residents and new arrivals, brought together kids and seniors, solidified old friendships and … Continued
  • Fond Memories of a Neighborhood Playground
    by Linda White Growing up on East Foster Avenue in the early 1960’s, I had the good fortune to be able to spend my days at Fairmount Avenue Playground, as it was called then. This was a wonderful place for the kids in the neighborhood. State College Parks & Recreation ran programs every summer in playgrounds around State College. Ours ran … Continued
  • Highlands Church Celebrates Centennial
    by Ellen Nagy Hello, Highlands Neighbors. There is a Centennial Celebration going on in the Highlands neighborhood this year! One of your neighbors—the University Baptist and Brethren Church (UBBC) —is turning 100 years old. The Beginning UBBC was founded in 1922 by a small group of local residents who wanted to establish a Baptist Church in State College. Around this … Continued
  • Life in the Highlands: You Ought to Be in Pictures
    produced by Mark, Valerie, and Maxwell Katsouros In 2021, Highlanders shared photos of the Highlands neighborhood throughout the four seasons. Our neighbors, Mark, Valerie, and Maxwell Katsouros generously donated their talents and time to produce a video using many of these photos. The production is a celebration of the Highlands neighborhood and of the five years that the Hearts in … Continued
  • What Came Before the Highlands?
    by Ishaan Anavkar The Highlands District of State College today has a rich history of growth and immigration, but being one of the oldest in the town, one wonders how it came to be, particularly what was there before it? I attempted to look for answers. The district defined by the map provided by the Highlands Civic Association: land bound … Continued
  • A Life Well Lived
    by David Saggio Ted Sebastianelli was born in Scranton Pennsylvania in 1947, a second-generation Italian-American.  His parents were Edward T. and Marion Sebastianelli. Ted’s immigrant grandfather and uncles were hard coal miners.  He grew up in Peckville and went to Blakely High School where he starred playing football. Upon graduating from Blakely, he accepted a full scholarship to play football … Continued
  • Living in the Highlands as Young Professionals
    by Kim and James Tierney Late 2018 we told our real estate agent we were interested in buying a house closer to downtown. In fact, we gave the instructions of “find us something within a one-mile radius of Local Whiskey.” Local Whiskey is one of our favorite downtown bars, and with James joining the board of 3 Dots Downtown, we … Continued
  • Aging in Place: The Highlands
    by Eric R. White It was 1976. My wife and I were house hunting. Our demands were minimal. She wanted a house with a fireplace; I wanted a house clad in stone or brick because I grew up in a New England Cape Cod which needed painting every five years. We needed three bedrooms. And, of course, it had to … Continued
  • Sidney Friedman Park: A Small Park With a Big History
    by Alexandra Rogers Introduction Once a resident of the Highlands, I remember my trips to Sidney Friedman Park. Bordered by the United States Post Office and Memorial Field on South Fraser Street, the quaint park has always provided me with an escape from the hustle and bustle of life. With a grandmother living in State College and a Penn State … Continued
  • 127 Years of Filling Needs
    by Susan Shank Shincovich Of the wide variety of entities that call the Highlands neighborhood home—including hundreds of single family homes, six houses of worship, two borough parks, apartment buildings of all shapes and sizes, an international market, several child care facilities, a gas station, numerous fraternity houses, and a wide variety of businesses small and large—the unobtrusive former ranch … Continued
  • The Highlands Meets the PSU Gridiron
    by Nate Bauer What’s past, of course, is prologue: After graduating from Penn State in August 2005, I had planned to leave my apartment at 110 E. Hamilton Ave. in State College and return to live with my parents before finding work. Having earned a degree in journalism with an emphasis in sports, more quickly than I’d anticipated, few other … Continued
  • Native Plants in the Highlands
    by Terry Melton In 1981, the little Cape Cod house we bought on East Irvin Avenue had 50 ornamental rose bushes, a new gardening challenge for me, and one that was short-lived, as I promptly killed every one with unintended benign neglect. How times have changed! With the publication of Doug Tallamy’s runaway best-seller Bringing Nature Home in 2007, gardeners everywhere … Continued
  • A Man and His Work: Philip F. Hallock
    by Nicole Kruse Part I Introduction Regular readers of Hearts in the Highlands may be familiar with Emily Briselli’s January 2019 piece, “Hallock’s Highlands Homes: A Lasting Architectural Legacy.” Briselli’s work is an engaging exhibition of Hallock’s architectural work in the Highlands neighborhood, with an in-depth focus on his distinctive take on mid-century modern architecture. This article highlights aspects of … Continued
  • A Heart in the Highlands
    by Jacob Wucher Since its founding in the late 1800s, the Highlands has been a staple to the State College and Penn State communities providing a home to families as well as fraternities. Many have passed through this historic community, all with different goals and aspirations; however, one thing they all had in common was that, during their time in … Continued
  • Veteran Housing in the Highlands During and After WWII
    by Kayley McDonald The Highlands neighborhood had been no stranger to development and expansion in the years before WWII. Throughout the 1930’s State College as a whole grew into its designation as the quintessential “college town” as the student population of Penn State increased and more businesses moved into the town’s commercial district. Those who moved to State College sought … Continued
  • The Glennland Building — Still Standing Tall
    Source: “Still Standing Tall” Nadine Kofman, Town & Gown, June 2018.(Excerpted by the Hearts in the Highlands editors, with permission of Town and Gown.) Although the Glennland Building is on the north side of Beaver Avenue, it is officially part of The Highlands. The Glennland became part of the Highlands Historic District because of some forward-thinking person (or persons) who set up the … Continued
  • The Wall
    If you have gone down East Irvin Avenue at any time over the past few months, you probably noticed the rather large pile of stones occupying the driveway at 618 E. Irvin and wondered what was up. If you passed by often, you saw that pile gradually be transformed into a beautiful new retaining wall by homeowner Mike Joseph. “Hearts … Continued
  • Little “Moore” on Dr. Moore — Part II
    by Kristen N. Zak As discussed in the 1st part about Dr. Moore titled “Dr. Moore’s Impact Part I: ‘Moore’ than a Little Impact”, Dr. Bruce V. Moore, who lived in the Highlands residence on 517 Hetzel Street, left a significant impact on the Penn State and State College communities. Furthermore, Dr. Moore has left a profound lasting influence on … Continued
  • Welcoming New Neighbors
    by Gary Miller Over the past few months, some new neighbors have introduced themselves in the Highlands.  We’ve not been very welcoming. ​Last October, a black bear got hit by a car on South Allen Street and sought safety by climbing up a tree outside 804 S. Allen Street.  It settled into the treetops for the day and left only … Continued
  • Their Hearts Were in the Highlands
    In this age of pandemic we often turn to science for answers and clarity. But it often can be the arts that “fill in the blanks,” bringing joy into our lives and giving us a break from the tidal wave of news that can easily swamp us. 
This month Hearts in the Highlands has posted poems by Robert Burns, Robert Louis Stevenson, and … Continued
  • Origins of the Highlands Neighborhood
    by Anne Cornell Based on an article that appeared in the June 1977 Town and Gown by Julia Garner with additional material by Gary Miller The Highlands is the oldest residential community in State College. In the 1850’s, the land that became our neighborhood was part of the Centre Furnace iron smelting operation. In 1855, James Irvin and Moses Thompson … Continued
  • History of the State College Christian Science Church
    by V. Star Campbell The First Church of Christ, Scientist (also known as the Christian Science church) has been located at 617 East Hamilton Avenue since 1965 but its history in State College goes back much further! In 1922 the first Christian Science services were held by students and faculty in Room 100 of the Horticulture Building at Penn State … Continued
  • Dr. Moore’s Impact Part 1 – “Moore” than a Small Effect
    Dear Readers: We are living in some very extraordinary times. Luckily, technology has given us the ability at Hearts in the Highlands to continue to post the types of articles we hope highlight for you the unique qualities of our neighborhood. We know that your attention is focused on the health and welfare of you and your families, trying to … Continued
  • Hearts in the Highlands Celebrates 3rd Anniversary
    This March 2020 Hearts in the Highlands is celebrating its third anniversary. As you may recall, the Editorial Board put out a message asking for residents of the Highlands to take some pictures of “life in the Highlands” Here are some that have been submitted for your enjoyment.   
  • Dad and the Anthropologist
    By Eric White One leisurely Saturday morning I was sitting at the dining room table nursing a cup of coffee, looking forward to a pleasant weekend which included a visit with my dad. He had traveled from the eastern part of the state to spend a few days with me and my family. His wife, my mother, had recently died, … Continued
  • Life on East Foster
    by Tom Reyburn We moved into a brick house on East Foster Avenue in 1968.  A few weeks after we moved, my younger brother, Bret, was born.  My parents, Jerry & Helene Reyburn, bought the house from a formidable-looking (at least to my four-year-old self), retired school teacher named Miss Demming. Miss Demming’s front porch was an informal collection point … Continued
  • From Prospect to Foster: Family Scenes in the Highlands
    by Carol White Remember a time when, on a summer day, children could roam the neighborhood like free-range chickens…leaving the house for a neighbor’s back yard or the nearby playground, or sometimes even as far away as crayfish pond?  And not coming home until your Mother rang the dinner bell or the street lights flickered on.  That’s what life was like … Continued
  • A Highlands Literary Legacy, Part 2
    by Anne Cornell, Gary Miller, and Eric White It should be no surprise that the Highlands neighborhood, being so close to Penn State, has been home to some world-renowned scholars. On our second “literary tour” (see “A Highlands Literary Legacy”, posted on May 30, 2018), it is time to recognize some more of these individuals who lived among us. Some may … Continued
  • Memories of Fairmount School
    This month, Hearts in the Highlands brings you reminiscences of the Fairmount Avenue School from Mary Thornton Hosterman and Martha Rappaport.  At the end of the 2018-2019 school year, the Delta Program, an offering of the State College Area School District, became the last instructional activity to be housed in the Fairmount Avenue School. Built in 1924, this building (with alterations) first served high school students, then … Continued
  • The State College Community Land Trust: An Asset for the Highlands
    by Peg Hambrick Are you a homeowner?  Then you may remember the joy—and anxiety—of buying your first home. In 1976, Don and I bought our first home.  Located in College Heights, that 3-bedroom, 2-bath brick Cape Cod cost $42,600.  Based on national statistics, that same home today may cost over $300,000, which mirrors the current median price of a home … Continued
  • A Hospital in the Highlands
    Source: Doctor Grover’s Hospitals, by Jo Chesworth,  Town & Gown, September 1971 Two hospitals existed in the early days of State College. One, the Glenn Hospital, opened in the Highlands in 1926 at 249 S. Pugh Street (photo). Dr. Grover C. Glenn and his brother, Dr. William S. “Billie” Glenn, Jr. first opened The Glenn Sanitarium, a 12-bed hospital, on … Continued
  • Quakers in the Highlands
    by Polly Dunn, Doug Miller, Selden Smith The State College Friends Meeting could actually claim to have been born in the Highlands, at 423 South Pugh Street, where, from 1913 to 1920, Hanna Maule invited Quaker students into her home for worship. For a few years, meetings were held in Friends Union on College Avenue, built primarily to house young Quaker … Continued
  • Hearts in the Highlands Celebrates its Second Anniversary
    by Eric White For the second anniversary of Hearts in the Highlands, the Editorial Board (Anne Cornell, Peg Hambrick, Gary Miller, and Eric White) chose to share with our readers eight vintage photographs of the Highlands.  We hope you enjoyed viewing the Highlands as they once were.  Change is certainly evident: farmland is now filled with houses and buildings of … Continued
  • Our “Fairy Tale” House
    by Laird and Svitlana Budzhak-Jones We began our State College house search late in the spring of 2001. Our realtor had planned a day of viewing six houses, to gauge our flexibility on style, neighborhood and price. We were just supposed to be looking. We viewed an unappealing ranch in Park Forest, and a weird chalet across the parkway. With several stops … Continued
  • An American Style: Three State College Houses by A. Lawrence Kocher
    by Jacqueline Melander All faculty members hope to leave an impression on their students.  A. Lawrence Kocher left an architectural impression that is still visible in the Highlands.  Kocher came to Penn State in 1912 as a graduate student in Architectural History and Design.  He received his Master’s degree in 1916, became a full professor in 1918, and served as head … Continued
  • Hallocks’ Highlands Homes: A Lasting Architectural Legacy
    By Emily Briselli One look at the unique and diverse homes situated through the Highlands District immediately immerses anyone and everyone in a world where people live, grow, and love in homes that have and will foster this community for years.  Many of these homes that we know and love came to be thanks to prominent State College architect Philip Hallock … Continued
  • Finding my Highlands Connection
    by Mary Conner-Righter How does the seeming randomness of life’s choices bring us to places where our heart longs to live? The story I am sharing unfolds through family lore passed on from now-deceased loved ones, a bit of historical checking, and my own inferencing to connect the missing pieces. Through this story, I hope to stir the reader’s thoughts … Continued
  • Leave the Leaves
    by Justin Wheeler Thanksgiving and fall leaves – other than their Autumnal association, they seemingly have little in common. Yet, as a gardener and lover of the natural world, fall leaves are one of the things I am most thankful for this time of year. I thankfully rake them into my garden beds where I know they will add valuable … Continued
  • Apartments in the Highlands before 1950
    By Lee Stout State College, both the institution and the town, was a growing community in the period between 1920 to the late 1940s.  Penn State saw the passing of the much beloved President Edwin Erle Sparks in 1924.  His energy had been sapped by the trials that World War I brought to the campus, and he stepped down from … Continued
  • A Love Story: A Couple, Their Pups and a Sears Home
    by Diana Griffith “The best couples all have a story to tell about how they met,” says Margaret Sebastianelli. She and husband Ted met while walking their dogs at Toftrees, where they each lived in a condo. Their dogs eyed each other first, and managed to introduce their “mom” and “dad” to each other. From that day on, Ted and Margaret … Continued
  • Empowering Survivors, Eliminating Violence: How a New Name Reflects the Centre County Women’s Resource Center Evolution Since the 1970’s.
    By Jordan Gibby, Prevention Educator For over 40 years, the Centre County Women’s Resource Center (CCWRC) has served the Highlands and broader Centre County community in combating domestic and sexual violence through confidential, free services. Started by grassroots activists in 1975, the original “organization” consisted of a small group of women bonding together and offering help with the challenges they … Continued
  • A Highlands Literary Legacy
    by Gary Miller and Eric White The Highlands neighborhood has a proud history as State College’s first residential neighborhood.  It is also, in its own way, a cultural center, our own version of Bloomsbury.  In addition to being the home of Schlow Centre Region Library, the Highlands also has been home over the decades to writers whose work has achieved international … Continued
  • A Home in the Highlands for Young Changemakers
    by Spud Marshall It’s been five years since we launched the co.space in the Highlands. In that time, we’ve had the pleasure of working with more than 100 young people who have called this community family. If you haven’t had the chance to visit co.space before, the home is full of unique items you typically don’t find in a house. … Continued
  • Home in the Highlands
    by Noah Coleman The odd thing about returning to the place where one was born is the intersection of your past and current lives. Returning to State College has created new patterns upon previous layers upon previous memories. When Highlands resident Dr. Eric White asked me to contribute a piece about my father (photographer Bill Coleman) and growing up in … Continued
  • A Jewish Home in the Heart of the Highlands 
    By Mark Lafer Congregation Brit Shalom, at 620 East Hamilton Avenue, is the center for worship, cultural engagement, and religious celebrations for more than 350 residents of the State College area. The names of early members are permanent parts of the Highlands: Mimi Barash Coppersmith, the Sidney Friedman Parklet, and the Schlow Centre Region Library. It is home to a … Continued
  • ‘As a town, we’re a little enclave of Sears houses’
    By Megan Fleming If the walls of many State College homes could talk, they would tell you that they were hand-picked from a catalog. Companies like Gordon-Van, Aladdin and Sears Roebuck and Co. sold plans and materials for homes out of catalogs — known as “mail-order houses” — that were shipped in full to the purchaser at the beginning of … Continued
  • Centre House: Shelter in the Highlands
    By Benjamin Rowles At 217 East Nittany Avenue, local residents in need of shelter can find a warm, supportive community to help them get back on their feet. Entering its 30th anniversary, Centre House is the only 24/7 homeless shelter in Centre County that welcomes men, women, children, and their families. It also houses the offices for all of the other … Continued
  • Out of the Cold
    By Gary Miller   What is a community? A few years ago, faculty at the University of North Carolina, the University of California at San Francisco, and the University of Philadelphia interviewed a wide range of people about that question.  They arrived at this definition:  community, they discovered, is “a group of people with diverse characteristics who are linked by … Continued
  • What Does the Future Hold for State College’s “Mansions”?
    By Lee Stout It has frequently been said that the fraternity houses are the original mansions of State College.  In the past, fraternity fortunes rose and fell, both with the popularity of Greek life among students along with the social dynamics of individual houses.  Today’s fraternities are increasingly challenged to be both good neighbors and to sustain their membership numbers … Continued
  • A Memory of Helen Atherton Govier
    by Gary Miller When my wife, Karen, and I were first married in 1972, we rented an apartment on East Hamilton Avenue in the Highlands. It was a small apartment house, with two apartments on the first floor, another two upstairs, and a fifth in the basement. We rented a one-bedroom apartment on the second floor. Below us lived an … Continued
  • A Life in the Highlands
    by Louise Ulinski (as told to Anne Cornell) In April of 1955, Louise Ulinski, a 25-year-old mom with a toddler and a baby on the way, moved with her family into a new three-bedroom, one-story, brick home on the corner of South Garner Street and McCormick Avenue. The family included husband Ray, 34, and 2-year-old son Gary. A baby daughter, … Continued
  • Gardening
    by Susan Rogers My father’s yard embarrassed me. The yard of my childhood was a patchy bit of grass, in the back and in the front—we had a corner lot—and loaded with weeds. Overburdened with teaching writing at Penn State and writing novels my father, Thomas Rogers, took no care of the yard. At times the town fined us for … Continued
  • Living in the Highlands
    by Nikki Crowley In the early spring of 2015, our soon-to-be family of three accepted jobs at Penn State University, and planned our move up from Chapel Hill, North Carolina. We had a single whirlwind weekend to search for our first “family” home. Our ideal home would be close to our jobs on campus, have safe sidewalks, and have a … Continued
  • The Rewards of Renovating a House in the Highlands
    by John and Sandra Wyngaard We are lucky enough to own a gem of a house in the Highlands that is filled with history. It is built of stone mined from local quarries and trussed with hand-hewn timbers reclaimed from coal mines west of here. Its wide-board oak flooring, complete with pegs and butterfly joints, was harvested locally. It also … Continued
  • The Community Café at St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church
    by Sharon Rovansek There is a little eatery in State College where the meals are as varied as the diners who eat them. Beef bourguignon with cauliflower florets, salmon with herb butter sauce, and brown sugar glazed meatloaf with mashed potatoes are regularly served along with soups, salads, deserts, and fresh fruit. There is also a take home table, where diners … Continued