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  • Penn State Mont Alto was founded in 1903 as the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy. It was one of the first public forestry schools in the nation.
  • All first-year students were required to bring a horse with them to the academy until the late 1920s. The horses were used to fight forest fires in the Michaux State Forest.
  • As the price of a horse rose, the students often shared the expense of a horse and took turns riding it.
  • The last student horse at the academy was owned in part by Harry Howard in 1927. The horse's name was Firpo.
  • Freshman in the early years of the academy were required to wear dinks (hats) and signs around their necks with their nicknames on them.
  • Students in the early 1900s helped to build their own dormitory, known today as Conklin Hall. The campus administrative offices are currently housed in Conklin Hall.
  • The first African American Forester, Ralph Brock, graduated from the Pennsylvania State Forest Academy in 1906. (Learn More about Ralph Brock)
  • Early forestry students often had dances with the girls from Wilson College, a nearby women's college.
  • When the state announced that the forest academy would be merged with Pennsylvania State University in 1929, the forestry students protested by hanging state officials in effigy out of the windows of Conklin Hall. (See picture) 
  • The forestry students also held a huge bonfire to protest the merger, which was attended by over 1,000 people and covered on the front page of the local newspaper.
  • The campus closed from 1943 to 1946 because some students and faculty were fighting in WWII.
  • Emmanuel Chapel, located at the entrance of the campus, is believed to be the worship place and the site of the last Holy Communion of abolitionist John Brown just before his raid on Harpers Ferry.
  • Wiestling Hall, built in 1807, is the oldest building in the entire Penn State system. People claim that Colonel Wiestling still haunts his former house.


Mont Alto Students
Class of 1921