History of Benner Township

Benner Township was established in 1853. It was named for General Philip Benner, an early ironmaster who came to this area in 1793. General Benner established the first iron forge in this area at Rock, along the banks of Spring Creek. He also constructed a nail and slitting mill at this site.

Benners_homeWild game abounded and was the main staple of the diet of early Township settlers. There were bears, panthers and wolves in such plentitude that no man thought of going out after dark without a rifle, and, as a rule, no man traveled alone after nightfall. Though buffalo no longer roamed this land since 1769, the name Buffalo Run was derived from a prominent buffalo lick located in the valley.

The earliest recorded inhabitants of the valley were the Delaware and Shawanese Indian tribes who belonged to the Iroquois league. These tribes had numerous paths that criss-crossed this territory and were later used as roads by the settlers.

In the early 1800′s many families of Scotch-Irish heritage came to the Buffalo Run Valley to farm the gently rolling hills.

Valentine Ore Washing Plant at The Benner Commerce Park

    In 1842, Abraham S. Valentine invented an ore washing machine that could remove clay from iron ore. Iron ore was often caked in clay and was very difficult to extract until Valentine’s invention. He established an ore washing plant on grounds of what is now The Benner Commerce Park. An archaeological dig confirmed the location. See photos and additional information from a brochure created by the Centre County Historical Society.

    Image 1: Location map/photo

    Image 2: Valentine Ore Operation

    Image 3: Ore Washer Technology