Centre County has strong immigrant history

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Protesters gathered outside of Penn State's Allen Street gate on Sunday.
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Protesters gathered outside of Penn State's Allen Street gate on Sunday.

Everyone comes from somewhere.

That can be hard to remember in a county where so many people can trace their family tree’s roots and branches back to the first settlers to come to the area, or people who have helped build it over the past 200 years.

But come here, they did.

According to the Bellefonte Historical Society, Scotch-Irish settlers came to what would become Centre County’s seat to get away from religious persecution in 1794.

In Philipsburg, it was better opportunity that drew Germans like John Henry Simler to carve a new life and a new town out of the wilderness, taking Henry Phillips up on his offer of free land.

Italians came to work with local stone.

Russians and Poles, French and Greeks. Every country whose sons and daughters came to Centre County flavored our communities with their history, their culture, their food.

And it hasn’t stopped.

Our newest immigrants are coming to us from different places. Asian nations, particularly China, are well represented in State College as the number of people from those countries drawn to work and study at Penn State blossoms.

We grow and change and develop with every addition.

Every person who settles, or stays, in our backyard chose it because of what we have to offer, what we have created and the desire to be a part of it.

We all come from somewhere. But we choose where we decide to end up.

Lori Falce: 814-235-3910, @LoriFalce