This Is Not My Parents Penn State
In college at Penn State I was often asked, “You mean someone is actually from State College?”
State College is my hometown. My parents were the first in our family to graduate from Penn State. Dad became a professor. Penn State was sometimes honorably called "The Cow College."
Back then State College was mostly a quiet small town. The area was affectionately known as the “Town and Gown” and later “Happy Valley.” It was safe to raise your kids and leave your car unlocked.
You tried to do the right thing whether or not anyone was looking. The Old Main Mural was about Penn State’s history as a land grant college. Its icons included President Abraham Lincoln.
State College was close to the geographic center of Pennsylvania, equally inaccessible in all directions from all modes of transportation. And that suited the town.
The 1960s brought a few peaceful protests on campus, mostly against buildings with military contracts. Riots were far away from central Pennsylvania.
As the town and university grew, changes occurred. ABC began televising football games, bringing the Goodyear Blimp to town. With growth came conveniences and problems once associated only with cities.
The Nittany Mall opened, bringing stores outside downtown. Instead of driving 45 minutes to an airport built before World War II at Black Moshannon, University Park built a more convenient one.
More traffic meant widening Beaver and College Avenues, making them each one way. Atherton Street was widened for Route 322.
Beaver Stadium was enlarged. Many Nittany Lions' fans in the west stands lost their view of Mount Nittany. Faculty, retirees and alumni no longer automatically kept the seats they held for years. The cost now included a large donation, pricing them out of many budgets.Continued on the next page