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Why is it "Happy Valley?"


Fireworks over Beaver StadiumStudents in queue outside the Bryce Jordan CenterStudents hiking Mount NittanyGood question! Is it the friendly people? The safety of the area? Is it because it is ranked one of the least stressful places to live in America? Or could it be the beautiful nature surrounding the campus? Of course these are true, but the name actually comes from a specific period in time. During the economic depression of the 1930s (called the Great Depression), the area of Happy Valley was not as affected as other parts of the country because of the stability of Penn State University.

This region of Pennsylvania was inhabited by Shawnee and Delaware Native Americans. The documented history of Happy Valley goes back to the mid-1700s, when the first European settler came to the area. The traditions of these settlers still can be seen in this area in the iron furnaces that dot the landscape, and in some Pennsylvanian cuisine.