Q: Does the sundial on Old Main lawn mark the geographic center of Pennsylvania?

What's up with that?

Illustration sundial on Old Main lawn against an outline of Pennsylvania and the state capitol building by Nick Sloff '92 A&A

A: No. This was a long-held Penn State myth, as was a more recent myth that the geographic center was along Route 45 near Aaronsburg. The actual geographic center of the commonwealth, according to university geographers, is near Fisherman’s Paradise along Spring Creek near Bellefonte, about 8 miles from University Park. The sundial nonetheless has an interesting history. A gift from Penn State’s Class of 1915, the dial was constructed from native Centre County limestone. The gnomon—the part of the dial that casts shade—was stolen multiple times and last replaced in 1950, when the Class of 1915 rededicated the dial with a new base and new gnomon. By 1956, though, the gnomon had been stolen again, and it has not been replaced.

 

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