Patton Township was established in 1794. It was the first township formed in the Centre Region and was part of Cumberland County prior to the establishment of Centre County in 1800.
The Township was named for Colonel John Patton. Colonel Patton opened Centre Furnace (now in College Township) in 1791 with his partner, Colonel Samuel Miles. He purchased thousands of acres in Patton Township, particularly in the Barrens, to mine the iron ore needed to supply the furnace. The ore was close to the surface here so it could be mined with hand tools and horse drawn wagons. Centre Furnace closed in 1858 but some ore was still mined in the Barrens to supply other furnaces in the County.
The opening of the Scotia Iron Works in 1881 marked the beginning of three decades of prosperity. Iron ore was mined, washed and loaded on trains for shipment to Andrew Carnegie's steel mills in Pittsburgh. The villages of Scotia and Marysville were established. The Pennsylvania and Bellefonte Central Railroads provided both freight and passenger service. A post office was opened - the Benore Post Office. Stores, a school and even a small library were located in the Scotia area. The Township's population topped 1,000 in 1900.
This era of prosperity and industrial activity ended in 1911 with the closing of the iron works. The railroads were abandoned and eventually removed. The village of Scotia and the iron works disappeared. The Township's population declined to 442 in 1930. Only the village of Marysville remains today as a living legacy of this era in our community's history.
Patton Township's character as a modern suburban and rural residential community began to take shape in the 1950's. Park Forest Village, started in 1956, was the first large suburban development near State College. This neighborhood won several national awards for its design, which moved away from the straight streets and clear cutting typical of post World War II suburban developments. The use of gracefully curved streets and the retention of trees established a pattern for future developments everywhere. The last section of Park Forest Village was opened in the early 1990's, thrity-five years after the neighborhood was planned.
A decade later the Toftrees development was started. This development followed a planned community approach, which allows for a mixture of types of dwellings and other uses all laid out according to a master plan. Modeled after planned communities in other states, Toftrees was the first such example in Pennsylvania.
In the 1990's the Gray's Woods Planned Community began developing, continuing the trend begun with Toftrees. The last twenty years has also seen a surge in commercial development, including extensive redevelopment along the North Atherton Street corridor. The commercial development has coincided with the planning, design and construction of the I-99 corridor through the Township.
As a result of expansion at Penn State University and throughout the State College area, Patton Township has continued to grow as a residential community. Our population grew from 1,289 in 1950 to 15,905 as of 2019 (US Census Bureau estimate). Our challenge for the future will be to continue effective planning to manage the growth that occurs in our community.
Why Live Here? Why Build Here?