Borough of Bellefonte

Historic Preservation

08.05.2008  |  Email This Page   |  Print This Page


Courthouse in the autumn rain

Preservation of historic structures and districts in Bellefonte has been seen for nearly 3 decades as the key to future economic viability. There is no other town with Bellefonte’s unique history and collection of historically significant buildings. The heritage expressed in wood, iron and stone is a resource that no other Centre County municipality has.

Historic preservation is about using the past to teach and guide the future. It is about saving and reusing buildings for present-day activities. The buildings located in Bellefonte Borough span two centuries of our town’s history, offering unique opportunities for property owners.

The historic preservation movement began in Bellefonte in the 1970′s as a result of four distinctive events. In 1961, the architecturally significant, Federal style, large, five-bay brick residence built in 1838 and known as the Brockerhoff Mansion was torn down. In the early 1970′s the Talleyrand Park Citizens’ Committee formed to develop a park along Spring Creek, which today is the focal point of the waterfront business district. The third event was the effort of another citizens’ group know as the “Save the Mill’ committee. Late in 1974 the Gamble Mill, which occupied the site of the earliest industrial activity within the borough (a 1786 gristmill), was given a deadline for either major renovation or demolition. Through the foresight and dedication of a local resident, the mill was saved and within the year was listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Like Talleyrand Park, the Gamble Mill is now one of Bellefonte’s most popular attractions. The fourth event was the listing of the Bellefonte Historic District in the National Register of Historic Places. This district contains approximately 400 buildings, many of which are significant for their association with iron production, commerce and industry, and government.

Many communities throughout Pennsylvania and the Nation achieve historic preservation objectives through the efforts of committed local residents who work together to preserve their heritage. Community Preservation Programs are active throughout the Commonwealth.

For more information about historic preservation in Pennsylvania and acrossthe Nation, visit the following links:

For beginners, as well as long-time community leaders, the following links to historic preservation terms may be helpful:

And, finally, if experiencing the removal of older buildings for construction of new buildings, the National Trust for Historic Preservation has provided the following glossary developed by the contributions of many communities. Credits are provided at the conclusion of the glossary.

Teardowns Glossary