The Moshannon Valley is more than just Philipsburg.
Often, when talking about things on our side of Skytop, it’s easy to shorthand it all. Philipsburg becomes everything in a 10-mile circle, the same way that, for people outside the Centre Region, State College and its surrounding nest of townships can become one homogenous mass.
But just as Boalsburg is not State College, the various municipalities of the Moshannon Valley all have their own special character, their own quirks and charms.
Rush Township, for example, is broad and long, the largest municipality by area in Centre County. It contains one of the natural jewels of the area, Black Moshannon State Park, and although Philipsburg owns Cold Stream Dam Recreation Area, half of the park sits in Rush.
South Philipsburg used to be a borough of its own, but it disappeared as an independent entity seven years ago when it melted back into Rush Township.
Philipsburg has its own oddities. Like Halehurst, the home of Hardman Phillips, part of the town’s founding family. It sits squarely in the middle of town, in a foresty patch on Presqueisle Street not far from the Old Mud Church. Philipsburg sits to the left and right, in front and behind, but the National Historic Register building remains resolutely part of Rush.
Across the creek, you hit Chester Hill in Clearfield County, though some state-erected signs persist in running it together into Chesterhill. It’s where you find Hi Way Pizza. Not that Hi-Way Pizza, our Hi Way Pizza, an experience unto itself, where you wait for square-cut slices to be slipped into nondescript white boxes. There is pepperoni on every slice, optional extras come in cups and you want it blistering hot from the bank of giant ovens.
Decatur Township is Rush’s Clearfield County mirror, stretching from Philipsburg toward Houtzdale in one direction and Clearfield in the other. A significant chunk of “Philipsburg” businesses, like those in Peebles Plaza, actually sit in Decatur.
If Philipsburg is our capital, Osceola Mills is her quiet suburb. But not too quiet. Locals are fiercely proud and will defend any slight with the battle-cry “Eat ’em up, Osceola!”
Down U.S. Route 322, you find Wallaceton and West Decatur and Bigler. Up state Route 53, you hit Troy Hill, Hawk Run and Morrisdale. Following the Tyrone Pike takes you to Twigg Settlement, Glass City and Sandy Ridge.
Each place, whether borough or village — or just a collection of a few houses at an intersection — is special in its own way. It’s how they come together that gives the Moshannon Valley its quilt-block beauty.