Our History

 

A History of State College Friends Meeting

State College Friends Meeting has roots dating back to 1790. The first Friends meeting in Centre County was Centre Monthly Meeting, located in Halfmoon Township. Friends held meetings for worship there from 1790 to 1933, when Centre Monthly Meeting was laid down and Centre Friends began attending State College Meeting.

The State College Friends Meeting was founded in 1912 to meet the needs of the Quaker students and a few local residents. The first regular business meeting of the State College Friends Meeting took place in 1925. In 1927, a meetinghouse was built at 318 South Atherton Street (now the home of the University Mennonite Church); it was enlarged in 1948-50. The present meetinghouse with its adjacent education wing was completed in 1980.

The meeting has two schools under its care—the Cooperative Playschool and the State College Friends School. The Cooperative Playschool is a parent-run preschool affiliated with Friends since the 1950s. The State College Friends School, founded in 1980, provides students in K-8 grades with an education based on Quaker principles.

Foxdale Village is a Quaker-directed retirement community founded by meeting members.

State College Friends Meeting is unusual in being part of two yearly meetings. In the early years, Friends from Baltimore Yearly Meeting and the two Philadelphia Yearly Meetings supported State College Friends Meeting. When State College Meeting became independent it retained affiliation with both Philadelphia and Baltimore, as a member of the Upper Susquehanna Quarter (PYM) and Centre Quarter (BYM).

Our ties to both PYM and BYM reflect our historic heritage and relationship to both yearly meetings. The earliest Friends in the area (BYM) settled in Halfmoon Township. One old meetinghouse exists near Stormstown today; it is used by the Grange. Friends Cemetary near Stormstown dates from the earliest days of Friends in Centre County. Another old meetinghouse and cemetary are located in Bellefonte.

A History of the Friends Meeting in Centre County, Pennsylvania, by Emily and Elwood Way, offers a full account of local Quaker history.