The Daily Item
WILLIAMSPORT — A new walking trail through Pennsylvania College of Technology’s main campus invites visitors to stroll its grounds and gain a connection with the campus’s rich history and traditions.
Installed in mid-October, the History Trail is marked by 17 kiosks that delineate an easy walking path around the campus that in bygone days was occupied by Williamsport High School, manufacturing plants and other businesses. Through text and photos, the signs provide a wealth of information about campus landmarks and programs, with morsels of the city’s history.
For instance, a sign in front of the George H. Parkes Automotive Technology Center sheds light on the area’s first automotive instruction, offered by Williamsport High School with one student, one instructor and one vehicle under the bleachers of the high school’s football field. Such classes were the foundation for what would become Williamsport Technical Institute and later Williamsport Area Community College and Penn College.
The Henry G. Hager Lifelong Education Center’s kiosk likewise tells the story of Hager and the functions of the building, but also reveals a local legend that occurred on the building’s grounds, when they were occupied by the Williamsport High School baseball field. During a Halloween exhibition baseball game 90 years ago, Hall-of-Famer Babe Ruth hit a 500-foot home run that hit a giant chair atop the Culler Factory, a furniture company that was once located in the area.
Filled with aerial photos and such other historical detail as the railroad tracks that once ran through campus, the trail was designed for the community and invites visitors and alumni to acquaint — or reacquaint — themselves with the college.
A complete list of sites on the History Trail, with accompanying descriptions, can be viewed at www.pct.edu/trail.