Rails to Penn State: The Bellefonte Central Railroad in Historical Perspective
The Bellefonte Central Railroad played a decisive role in both the economic development of the Centre County region and the rise of The Pennsylvania State University. It began life in 1886 as the Buffalo Run, Bellefonte, & Bald Eagle Railroad (BRB&BE) and was reorganized as the Bellefonte Central (BFC) in 1892. The BFC built a branch extending from a wye switch at Struble to State College, where it handled passengers and coal for the College power plant.

By connecting Bellefonte and State College, the short line railroad and its spurs linked formerly isolated central Pennsylvania communities to larger cities via the Pennsylvania Railroad system. This created the transportation infrastructure necessary to sustain several core Centre County industries – iron ore extraction, charcoal-based iron manufacturing, limestone production, lumbering, and coal mining – well into the twentieth century.

This exhibit celebrates the formal opening of the Bellefonte Central Railroad Collection within the University Libraries’ Special Collections Library by acknowledging the contributions of the railroad’s management and employees to the history of both the Centre County region and The Pennsylvania State University. The exhibit draws upon the Special Collections Library holdings of Bellefonte Central Railroad photographs, postcards, documents, publications, memorabilia and cartographic materials to bring the history of the railroad to life.

Repository: Penn State Special Collections, University Park, PA, USA.
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