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Pennsylvania State College

State College, Pennsylvania

State College is the largest borough in Centre County in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania. It is the principal city of the State College, Pennsylvania Metropolitan Statistical Area which encompasses all of Centre county. As of the 2000 census, the borough population was 38,420, (estimated 38,720 in 2007) and roughly double that total lived in the borough plus the surrounding townships. Of that population, 20,011 or 52.1% are males and 18,409 or 47.9% are females. City Data

The town is dominated economically and demographically by the presence of the main campus of the Pennsylvania State University, often referred to as Penn State. Happy Valley is an often-used term to refer to the State College area, including the borough and the townships of College, Harris, Patton, and Ferguson.

The area is served by University Park Airport.


State College evolved from village to town to serve the needs of the fledgling Pennsylvania State College, founded as the Farmers' High School of Pennsylvania in 1855. Since then, the school has grown into a major university, renamed in 1953 The Pennsylvania State University, also known as Penn State. State College was incorporated as a borough on August 29, 1896 and has since grown with the university. Borough and university share a symbiotic relationship. In 1973 State College adopted a home rule charter which took effect in 1976. The areas outside of State College are filled with historic towns and villages, immense tracts of farmland, and an expanse of mountains and forests.

The university has a post office address of University Park, PA, which is sometimes a cause for confusion. When Penn State changed its name from College to University in 1953, its president, Milton S. Eisenhower, sought to persuade the town to change its name as well. A referendum failed to yield a majority for any of the choices for a new name, and so the town remains State College. After this, Penn State requested a new name for its on-campus post office in the Hetzel Union Building from the U.S. Post Office Department. The post office, which has since moved across a street to the McAllister Building, is the official home of zip code 16802 (University Park). The new zip code was granted directly by President Dwight D. Eisenhower at the request of his younger brother Milton S. Eisenhower .

General information

  • ZIP Codes: State College: 16801, 16803; Penn State University: 16802
  • Area Code: 814
  • Local Phone Exchanges: 231, 234, 235, 237, 238, 272, 278, 861, 863, 865, 867

Geography and climate

State College is at (40.791261, -77.858740). The elevation is approximately above sea level. According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough has a total area of 4.5 square miles (11.8 km²), all of it land.

Temperatures in State College average in January and in July. Annual precipitation is about , and of snow a year falls in the city (Based on official 109-year average of snowfall at State College as per National Weather Service's State College office).


As of the census of 2000, there were 38,420 people, 12,024 households, and 3,306 families residing in the borough. The population density was 8,459.3 people per square mile (3,267.4/km²). There were 12,488 housing units at an average density of 2,749.6/sq mi (1,062.0/km²). The racial makeup of the borough was 84.31% White, 3.69% African American, 0.15% Native American, 8.77% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 1.38% from other races, and 1.58% from two or more races. 3.02% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 12,024 households out of which 10.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 22.4% were married couples living together, 3.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 72.5% were non-families. 33.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 5.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.30 and the average family size was 2.69.

The age distribution of State College, overwhelmingly influenced by Penn State, was: 5.8% under the age of 18, 65.5% from 18 to 24, 16.2% from 25 to 44, 6.7% from 45 to 64, and 5.8% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 22 years. For every 100 females there were 108.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 109.1 males.

The median income for a household in the borough was $21,186, and the median income for a family was $54,949. Males had a median income of $34,388 versus $27,219 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $12,155. 46.9% of the population and 9.7% of families are below the poverty line. Out of the total population, 10.6% of those under the age of 18 and 2.2% of those 65 and older are living below the poverty line. However, traditional measures of poverty can be very misleading when applied to a community like State College which is dominated by students.


Happy Valley

"Happy Valley" is sometimes used as shorthand for State College, Pennsylvania. Commentators referring to Penn State athletic events often give the location as "Happy Valley" rather than mentioning State College or the specific campus facility.

In a survey conducted in the late 1980s by Psychology Today, State College was ranked as one of the least stressful places in the United States. A more recent rating put State College 19th among "50 Smart Places to Live " The same source states: "Sperling's BestPlaces research group has previously ranked State College the No.1 safest small city in America, and Forbes, thanks in large part to the tremendous amount of research conducted at the University, listed State College among the top 10 smaller metro areas in which to start a career or business " In 2007, CNN Money said State College was the number one "single" city based on percentage of unmarried people living there. Even more statistics about State College are available at:

In the August issue of Rolling Stone Magazine, State College received honorable mention in best music scenes throughout the country. Bands formed in State College include Axum, The Bullet Parade , Cootie Brown, The Earthtones, Emily's Toybox, Holy Mary, Mother of Bert, Katsu, The Nightcrawlers, Blasting Trout Overbite, Queen Bee and the Blue Hornet Band, and The Rustlanders.

Otto's Pub & Brewery, located in State College, was voted #37 on the "Top 50 Places to Have A Pint" in the United States in 2003 by In addition to this, the 2006 survey listed Zeno's Pub, a local bar, in the top 50 as well.

Ye Olde College Diner, located in State College, was voted #3 on the "Best Places to Eat a Sticky Bun" in the United States in 2005 by It is a place of Penn State tradition that dates back to 1929. The diner serves grilled stickeys. Many alumni come back here well after they have graduated from Penn State. The Diner was closed briefly in August 2007 by Centre County due to health code violations, but re-opened after five days.

Baby's Burgers & Shakes is a 50's style diner located down town, and was once featured in a Visa commercial, saying that they don't accept American Express. There are dozens of additional interesting restaurants and bars unique to State College, most of which are concentrated in the downtown area along College Avenue and Beaver Avenue and their cross streets.

The Central Pennsylvania Festival of the Arts, usually referred to simply as Arts Fest, is held down town every July. The 5 day long festival features artists from around the country and draws more than 125,000 visitors. Many streets are closed off and lined with booths where people can buy paintings, pottery, jewelry, and a variety of other hand made goods. There are also numerous musical performances and plays to take in, and food vendors selling everything from funnel cakes to Indian cuisine.

Famous people from State College

Points of interest




Web media


State College is part of the Johnstown/Altoona/State College television market, which is currently ranked #99 in the nation.


The State College, PA radio market is ranked #257 in the nation. The following box contains a list of radio stations in State College.

  • WPSU-FM Public Radio (Classical, Folk, Jazz, Blues, NPR)
  • WPSU2-FM HD Radio - Jazz, News, Public Affairs
  • WJOW-FM 105.9 Country
  • WZWW-FM 95.3 Hot Adult Contemporary
  • WMAJ-FM 99.5 Adult Hits
  • WBUS-FM 93.7 Classic Rock
  • WQWK-FM 103.1 Active Rock
  • WOWY-FM 97.1 Oldies
  • WJOW-FM 105.9 Country
  • WRSC-AM 1390 News Talk Information
  • WMAJ AM 1450 All Sports
  • WBHV-FM 94.5 Pop Contemporary Hit Radio
  • WBLF-AM 970 News Talk Information
  • WFGE-FM 101.1 Country
  • WPHB-AM 1260 Classic Country & Bluegrass
  • WTLR-FM 89.9 Religious
  • WKPS-FM 90.7 College Radio
  • WRXV-FM 89.1 Contemporary Christian

(Source:, State College market)


Local bars include:

  • Allen Street Grill - an upscale restaurant featuring a piano bar
  • The Autoport
  • Bar Bleu
  • Bill Pickles Tap Room
  • The Brewery, inc. - live music and performance art with a moderately diverse selection of beer.
  • Cafe 210
  • Candy Lounge
  • Cell Block - trendy music, dancing
  • Chumley's - State College's only alternative lifestyle bar
  • Corner Room - at the corner of College and Allen
  • The Darkhorse Tavern
  • The Gingerbread Man
  • Indigo Night Club - playing top 40 dance.
  • The Lion's Den
  • Mad Mex Big Azz Margaritas and outdoor dining in summer months.
  • Otto's
  • The Rathskeller and Spats Cafe
  • The Phyrst - an Irish-style pub.
  • The Saloon - 101 Heister St.
  • Sharky's
  • Sports Cafe
  • Tony's Big Easy
  • The University Resident Theatre Company (URTC). The School of Theatre at Penn State.
  • Zenos Pub - voted in Playboy magazine as one of the United States top 50 places to have a beer.
  • Zola New World Bistro - Upscale fusion cuisine and cocktail bar, featuring live jazz on Friday nights.

Other Non Drinking Entertainment

  • 2000 degreese pottery studio
  • The State Theater
  • The Creamery


Club League Venue Established Championships
State College Spikes NYPL, Baseball Medlar Field at Lubrano Park 2006 0

Collegiate sports/NCAA

Correctional facility

State College is located not far from the State Correctional Institution - Rockview, which is known as the state penitentiary, or the "state pen" (Source: , reference to "state pen" being near Penn State).


Major employers



State College has many shopping areas, most notably:

Government and politics

Federal level

At the federal level, State College forms part of Pennsylvania's 5th congressional district. The current incumbent is John E. Peterson.

County level

At the county level, Centre County, Pennsylvania's county seat is in Bellefonte, Pennsylvania. There are three county-level district courts within State College, with the others being Philipsburg, Bellefonte, and Centre Hall.

The current county-level districts are divided as follows, all of which are common pleas courts. The jurisdictions include civil claims and summary offenses. Higher level courts are located in neighboring Bellefonte.

  • District 49-1-01, District Judge Carmine W. Prestia, serving State College, elected in 2007 for a 4 year term
  • District 49-3-05, District Judge Jonathan D. Grine, serving State College
  • District 49-2-01, District Judge Leslie A. Dutchcot, serving College, Ferguson, Halfmoon, and Patton Townships, elected in 2007 for 4 year term at $76,000/year


Regional level

The Borough of State College is a member of the Center Region Council of Governments (CRCOG)

Other Members are

Local level

At the local level, the Borough of State College government is currently run by the following elected officials, based on the 2007 election results:

  • Mayor: Bill Welch
  • President of Council: Elizabeth A. Goreham
  • Council Members:
    • Ronald Filippelli
    • Donald M. Hahn
    • Theresa D. Lafer
    • Silvi Lawrence
    • Peter Morris
    • James L. Rosenberger


Law enforcement

The law enforcement arm of the Borough of State College is the State College Police Department, served by Chief Thomas R. King.

Fire protection

  • The Alpha Fire Company operates out of 3 stations and responds with 5 engines, 2 trucks, 1 heavy rescue and 2 tankers. The department's annual run total is around 1000.

The Alpha Fire is an All Volunteer Fire Company, arguably the largest in the state when the size and population of Penn State is factored in.

The Fire is led by 5 chiefs, 3 captains, and other various officers. The fire company operates under the Centre Region Council of Governments under the direction of Fire Director Steve Bair.


Public schools

State College is served by the State College Area School District.

Private schools

There are also a variety of private schools, including the State College Friends School , Nittany Christian School , and Our Lady of Victory Catholic school.

Higher education

See Penn State University.

Other colleges near State College


State College is served by the following libraries:

  • Aaronsburg Public Library
  • American Philatelic Research Library
  • Centre County Book Mobile
  • Centre Hall Area Branch Library
  • Holt Memorial Library
  • Pennsylvania State University Libraries
    • Pattee Library (main library)
    • Hammond Library (engineering)
    • Pollock Library (study library)
    • Paterno Library
  • Schlow Centre Region Library (
  • The Centre County Library





State College is served by:


The closest airport is the University Park Airport.

Mass transportation

See also


External links

  •, the Web site of the State College Area School District Scasd
  •, Free discussion forum for anyone interested in what is going in the State College area.
  •, Information on of all State College's arts, music, sports, and events. Request events at the Bryce Jordan Center on the forum.

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