Bellefonte Historical and Cultural Association
Timeline of Development
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1964 Bellefonte Borough Council, assisted by the Pennsylvania General Assembly and the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, begins to develop park plans.
1971 The site is cleared of dilapidated commercial buildings, and grass and trees are planted.
1974 Council, facing problems in park development, discusses selling the land. Twenty-five members of the community form the all-volunteer Talleyrand Park Committee to help with the design of the park and to raise funds for improvements.
1975 Council approves the general park design developed by the citizens’ committee.
1976 Talleyrand Park Committee, aided by commercial businesses, non-profit and public agencies, and Bellefonte Borough, as well as donations of skilled labor by local bricklayers and fundraisers by local groups, designs and completes the gazebo in time for the US Bicentennial celebrations.
1978 Talleyrand Park Committee secures a donation of land along Water St. from the Gulf Oil Corporation, which was closing a gas station on the site. It is turned into the George Grey Barnard Sculpture garden.
1983 Installation of a bronze casting of the head of Lincoln sculpted by Bellefonte native George Gray Barnard in 1917, with funds raised by the Talleyrand Park Committee and additional help from the Borough of Bellefonte.
1985 Pennsylvania Conservation Corps grant, with one-fourth matching funds for materials from Bellefonte Borough, funds the building of a footbridge from the Sculpture Garden to the peninsula, in the process employing and training disadvantaged youth.
1986 The suspension bridge linking the main part of the Park to the peninsula is completed under another Pennsylvania Conservation Corps grant with one-fourth matching funds from Bellefonte Borough.
1987 Restrooms are completed adjacent to the Train Station under another Pennsylvania Conservation Corps grant, with one-fourth matching funds from the Borough.
1988 The Pergola (arbor) and fencing around the head gates to the raceway are completed under another PCC grant.
1989 The raceway cover, under the same grant with additional funds from the Elks Club Garver Charity Fund and the Talleyrand Park committee, is bricked over using a design from the Talleyrand Park Committee, forming the promenade in front of the Train Station.
1993 The Playground in the main part of Talleyrand Park is completed, funded by Supelco, Inc. (a private company) and built by Vo-tech students, Supelco employees, and Borough workers.
1995 The Governors Memorial bordering the High St. entrance to the park is constructed on a semicircular brick plaza funded by the Jaycees and built by Vo-tech students. The existing flagpole is replaced using contributions from the Garver Charity Fund of the Bellefonte Elks and relocated near the Train Station.
2003 Iron benches are added in various locations in the Park with the assistance of a Community Development Block Grant and a grant from the Centre County Community Foundation. The Bellefonte Garden Club and the Bellefonte Chamber of Commerce began Project Daffodil, which continues, and by 2014 hundreds of thousands of daffodils were planted in Talleyrand Park and throughout Bellefonte and surrounding areas.
2005 Iron tables coordinating with the benches are added in several locations, through donations to the Talleyrand Park Committee by a private individual and a grant from the Centre County Community Foundation.
2006 The stairs and bridge decking of the suspension bridge were painted. Vandalism of the historic wrought iron fencing around the Lincoln bust in the Sculpture garden was noted and the boxwood was cut lower in hopes of curbing the damage.
2007 The Borough replaced the gazebo roof with red shingles. A number of memorial trees were planted this year, including the Kwanza cherry trees by the millrace, trees in the new section of the park, a willow and a golden chain tree. Ten metal tables have been placed throughout the park.
2008 Four new iron tables were placed in the park and a dead willow was removed.
2009 A grant from the Centre County Community Foundation permitted the Talleyrand Park Committee to plant flowers and shrubs along the banks of the peninsula and near the playground to help halt erosion. The Committee oversaw replacement of the historic wrought iron fence surrounding the Lincoln sculpture by a steel fence with a historic look that cannot be vandalized.
The Borough is finalizing plans for an extension of the park to the south
2010 The new extension of the park to the south where Claster’s retail building had been has been nearly completed by the Borough, including a bridge from the Sculpture Garden over the overflow of the Big Spring to the new large area. Members of the Committee worked with the Bellefonte Borough selecting playground equipment for the park, dealing with colors and equipment that is suitable for the playground.
2011 The Talleyrand Park Committee planted flowers and plantings around the Lincoln bust and horse trough in the Sculpture Garden, and provided a new Victorian style sign for entrance to the Sculpture Garden. A new and popular addition to the park is the Edible Landscape Garden, created by members of The Talleyrand Park Committee.
2012-13 An extension of the existing stone wall on the Gazebo side of the creek up to the bridge and then from the bridge to the mill race, was designed by the Talleyrand Park Committee and constructed in cooperation with the Centre County Conservation District with funds through a Growing Greener grant, Bellefonte Borough, and the Talleyrand Park Committee. Inmates from Centre County Prison and Borough employees assisted in the constructions, thereby stabilizing the stream bank, preventing further erosion, and creating a safe place for people to get near Spring Creek. Another similar project, adding the US Fish and Wildlife, created a mudsill from the Millrace up the stream bank 56 feetr to stem the bank erosion.
2013-14 The Talleyrand Park Committee obtained a substantial grant from an anonymous foundation to create another 140 feet of mudsills further up the creek. In cooperation with the Conservation District and the US Fish and Wildlife Service, and the others mentioned above, nearly 300 feet of park property is now conserved. It has been seeded and planted with native plants to help create a riparian strip to stop erosion.
Borough maintenance of the bridges was done, and landscaping, grass seeding, trimming of bushes, weeding is continuing. The Bellefonte Garden Club continues to plant the urns as they have done for years.
The Talleyrand Park Committee was awarded a 2014 Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation from the Board of Governors of the Centre County Historical Society. This is a countywide recognition of all the work the committee has done in working with Bellefonte Borough and spearheading the development of artistic and architectural features, as well as planning and fundraising for the beauty and maintenance of the landscaping and restoration of stream banks in the park since 1974.