Stroll Through Time
by Jennifer A. Cline, writer/editor-One College Avenue.
Seventeen kiosks, filled with archive photos and historical details, delineate Pennsylvania College of Technology's new History Trail, an easy walking path around main campus. The trail invites visitors and alumni to acquaint – or reacquaint – themselves with the college.
Among the companies once located here were Spencer Heater, a division of Avco Lycoming; Lycoming Foundry; Claster Steel Co.; Lycoming Construction; and the last plant to operate on the site, PBI Industries, a structural steel fabricating firm that closed in 1985. The college purchased the property, removed the rusty skeleton of a massive, once-great industrial structure, and opened the campus to Maynard Street and the adjacent interstate highway.
Roger & Peggy Madigan Library
Until this permanent home was established in 2006, the college library moved frequently. From 1966 through 1968, it was housed at 1223 W. Fourth St., several blocks west of campus. From 1968 through 1981, the library was inside the Rishel Building at 1201 W. Third St. In 1981, the college moved the library to a space that is now part of the Hager Lifelong Education Center.
Alvin C. Bush Campus Center
This site once was home to W.D. Crooks and Sons, which crafted wood veneer doors for the White House, U.S. Capitol, Library of Congress, Pentagon, National Art Gallery and other public buildings from 1886 to 1971. Elizabeth (Crooks) Bush, daughter of one of the operators of the renowned door company, also was the wife of state Rep. Alvin C. Bush, who sponsored legislation to create Pennsylvania College of Technology and for whom the center is named.
Henry G. Hager Lifelong Education Center
For many years, this area behind Bardo Gymnasium was the Williamsport High School football field. The center, built in 1984, is home to the early childhood education program and the Dunham Children's Learning Center, as well as laboratories for culinary, baking and pastry arts; architectural technology; and natural sciences, among others.
John F. Thompson Professional Development Center
The center, designed and built by students, faculty and staff in 1986, hosts meetings, conferences, seminars and social events. "Boom wood" featured in the center's interior is salvaged crib lumber from the 1880s, when Williamsport was known as the lumbering capital of the world. Many lumber-related businesses were located on the site, taking advantage of the area's access to the Susquehanna River. Railroad tracks that served factories along the former Susquehanna Street once ran through the center of campus in the vicinity of this facility.
College Avenue Labs
Hon Industries Inc., one of the nation's largest manufacturers of office furniture, purchased the Williamsport factory that now houses College Avenue Labs in 1983. Previously, the plant operated as J. K. Rishel Furniture Co., known for producing high-grade office furniture since the turn of the 20th century. In 2001, Hon Industries Inc. offered Penn College a generous gift-purchase agreement after announcing plans to close its Williamsport factory.
Kenneth E. Carl Building Technologies Center
Carl, for whom the building is named, was the first president of Williamsport Area Community College. He spent much of his life connected to the institution. He was a Williamsport Technical Institute graduate who became a member of its drafting faculty and eventually its director. He was one of the architects of Pennsylvania's community college system and served as WACC's first president.
George S. Klump Academic Center
Opened in 1914 as Williamsport High School, the Klump Academic Center is the most historic landmark on campus. Adult vocational classes, held in the high school basement, led to the development of Williamsport Technical Institute (officially named in 1941), Williamsport Area Community College (1965), and Pennsylvania College of Technology (1989).
Constructed in 2006, the garden is an area of respite and reflection near the site of a former campus and community landmark: a one-time trolley car building, known as "Unit 6," which served many years as administrative headquarters of Williamsport Technical Institute and Williamsport Area Community College.
View the entire History Trail. Or share your old photos.