Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association
Bellefonte, Pennsylvania

Fred D. Smith Collection of Photos and Postcards of the Diamond and the Centre County Courthouse

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The Diamond and Courthouse, Bellefonte, PA
Fred D Smith Collection

The Diamond lies at the center of Bellefonte, surrounded, in clockwise order, by The Courthouse, the Reynolds Bank, the Brockerhoff Hotel, the IOOF Lodge, and the First National Bank Building.  The Diamond is representative of the Pennsylvania Diamond, characteristic of towns in Pennsylvania and nearby areas that were settled by Pennsylvanians.
     A courthouse was first constructed in 1805 and 1806.  A Grecian column porch was built in 1835.  With the exception of the porch, the entire building was replaced in 1854 and 1855; a new eastwing was added in 1963-1964.  The Soldiers and Sailors War Memorial and statue of Andrew Gregg Curtin were dedicated in 1906; the designer Joseph M. Huston also designed the State Capitol Building in Harrisburg.
     The Reynolds Bank was originally built in 1859 but burned down in 1888.  It was rebuilt by Jackson-Hastings and Co.  It became the Bellefonte Trust Co. around 1900 and in 2005 was remodeled as additional courtroom space.  Immediately east of the Reynolds Bank is the Garman House, which was remodeled in 1888 and was a gathering place for politicians and attorneys.  To its east is the Garman Opera House, constructed in 1890; the song "After the Ball is Over" was first sung in public here.  It later was the State Theatre and is presently a movie theatre.
     The Brockerhoff Hotel is located at the site of a log cabin owned by James Benner.  Henry Brockerhoff built the hotel in 1864-1865, but it was redesigned by Robert Cole in the 1890s by adding a fourth floor and mansard roof.  It is still a perfect example of 1860-1870 Gothic revival architecture, with a multi-tiered slate mansard roof and Romanesque windows on the front.
     The First National Bank Building was constructed in 1872, but following a fire in 1888 the present structure was rebuilt in 1889, along with the Crider Exchange Building immediately to its north.  The two buildings are examples of picturesque eclectic Victorian style. [text on the Diamond adapted from The Historical Walking Tour of Bellefonte, now available as a Virtual Walking Tour.]
     Thumbnails proceed clockwise from the Courthouse around the Diamond.

Click on the thumbnails to enlarge the images:

Courthouse 1

Courthouse 2

Courthouse 17

Courthouse 5

Courthouse 6

Courthouse 7


Courthouse 9

Courthouse 10


Courthouse 12

Courthouse 13

Courthouse 15

Courthouse and diamond


Garman House and (left) Garman Opera House

directly south of the Courthouse

Garman House and Garman Opera House

The original jail, built 1867, shown ~1910

up the hill and east of the Courthouse

Jail fire!

in 1959

Jail fire 1959

Courthouse and Reynolds Bank

Reynolds Bank

on the southeast corner of the Diamond

Reynolds Bank


Reynolds Bank

and, on its left, the Garman House

Looking down S. Allegheny St.

between the southeast and southwest corners of the Diamond

The Pennsylvania Hotel, owned by Henry Brockerhoff, which burned and was rebuilt in 1865

The Brockerhoff rebuilt in 1865 without the fourth floor and mansard roof added in the 1890s.

Brockerhoff Hotel, as rebuilt in the 1890s

on the southwest corner of The Diamond

Brockerhoff Hotel 2

Brockerhoff Hotel 3

Brockerhoff Hotel ~1915

Courthouse 11

Looking across the Diamond to the west side

Diamond 1b

Looking down W. High St. between the southwest and northwest corners of the Diamond

Diamond 3

Panoramic view from the southwest corner past the northwest corner to S. Allegheny St.

Diamond 8

Another view down W. High St. IOOF Building (now demolished) on the right

The IOOF (Odd Fellows) Hall, now demolished

Diamond 12

IOOF Building on the northwest corner, First National Bank to its right; band and bunting from the 100th anniversary of Bellefonte in 1895

First National Bank Building on the northwest corner

festooned with bunting for the 100th anniversary

100th anniversary of Bellefonte

Bus at the northwest corner

IOOF Building (now demolished) and First National Bank

on the northwest corner, ~1900

View across the Diamond

to the northwest corner

First National Bank

and, to its right down S. Allegheny St., the Crider Exchange

Northeast corner of the Diamond