Centre County Plans

Bicentennial News features reports about the American Revolution Bicentennial in Pennsylvania, including programs, events and publications of PHMC, as well as projects and activities of the Bicentennial Commission of Pennsylvania, county historical societies and other institutions.

Preparations for the commemoration of the Bicentennial of the American Revolution in Centre County have proceeded along lines very much like those of two centuries ago when it was remarked that the revolution in America had taken place in the hearts and minds of the people long before the war for independence officially broke out. And so, two centuries later, a dozen local groups representing boroughs, townships, civic and patriotic organizations have been busy arranging for their own intimate observance of an anniversary which all, by common impulse, want to observe with dignity and appreciation.

Official programs will be announced, but at the moment the Vacationland Council of Centre County, designated by the County Commissioners to take formal charge of the observance, has confined itself to advance planning and has not publicly announced its final decisions.

The Council consists of a two-phase program. One will be county-wide, centering upon a week of special activities in local communities, which will be scheduled throughout the year. The county-wide activities will include radio programs, some of them quiz programs about county history; weekly newspaper features stressing events of one and two centuries ago; a regularly published calendar of Bicentennial events; and certain special activities – perhaps the beautification or opening of notable scenic outlook points within the county.

Local communities will be urged to include in their observances some type of visible and permanent reminder of the Bicentennial, perhaps a tree-planting.

Meanwhile, women’s clubs in several towns are developing plans for window displays, quilt auctions, state and national flag exhibits, pageants and musical programs to involve schools, and decoration of the community itself.

The Moshannon Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution has issued two terra cotta commemorative plates depicting historic sites in the Philipsburg area and will produce two more in 1975 and 1976. The chapter wants to fly the Betsy Ross flag in the public park in 1976 and is preparing to publish a list of Revolutionary ancestors of current chapter members.

The Boalsburg Village Conservancy has initiated a Harris Township community program centering around Memorial Day. During the last week of May, 1976, this community which inaugurated one of the first observances of Memorial Day is scheduling a “Patriotic Day,” two “Days in Town,” several musical programs by school groups, and on Memorial Sunday, an outdoor church service and picnic, an organ recital and a pageant.

The Pennsylvania State University has begun a fourĀ­-phase commemorative program. Members of its staff are preparing a book, Pennsylvania-1776, to recreate the Revolutionary era in word and picture. The University Press will publish it. John LaMontaine has been commissioned to prepare an opera: “Be Glad, then, America. A Decent Entertainment.” It will be presented in the spring of 1976 with a guest director and an operatic cast supported by the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra and the University choirs. The University Museum of Art has scheduled an exhibition: “Two Hundred Years of American Portraiture,” especially assembled for the Bicentennial. The University Artist Series will also include programs which will highlight the Bicentennial theme. Finally, the University is arranging for a special lecture series with distinguished speakers to signalize the Bicentennial year.

Other county groups are also at work. The district Girl Scouts already are researching material on their Bicentennial theme: “Hidden Heroines – Contributions of Women to the Building of America.” The girls are seeking information about notable women of the region, not only of Revolutionary times, but in all succeeding years up to the present. The Boy Scouts, the libraries, the historical society, churches, service clubs, and several community groups having their own centennial anniversaries in 1975-1976 are all planning exhibits or occasions which will relate their particular constituency to the larger observance of the Bicentennial.


Dr. Klein, retired Pennsylvania State University history professor, is a member of the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission; he resides in Centre County.