Howard...nice little town...but...
The little town of Howard Pennsylvania. My hometown. I left in the late 80's for greener pastures and returned many years later to find that the town is dying. No surprise really, given its in Center County...the worst thing to happen to Pa since the founding of the Commonwealth.
This is a pleasant little town (now more an island as it is surrounded by a lake on three sides and narrow winding road to nowhere through the mountains on the other)I loved howard when I was a kid...Reds Snack Shack...sadly closed in 89 with numerous replacements since...none have lasted long enough for the town to remember their names except for the current establishment, a pizza place. Reds was the best!...the parents didnt like the kids there and that was good enough!...loud jukebox, pinball machines, video games, all american junk food, candy counter, pop...WOOHOO!...this was a class act! a complete 70's-ish looking dive that was home for me as long as I can remember!...of course Wolf's IGA had a restaurant when I was like 3 or 4 but i think it closed around '73. Oh and the IGA is gone too...last time I was through town a smaller scaled down version was up and running...and the unimart that hasnt seen a remodel...EVER is still there ripping off the locals and anyone dumb enough to stop in on their way to the lake.
The lake...now theres a touchy subject...seems to me anyone over 50 hates it and people like me...born about the time it was built...love it.
The older folks in town hate the lakes very existance as it put the town off the main road when in fact it used to BE on the main road...if you can call 220 a main road. And more still blame the lake for everything that is wrong with the town and why its a dying relic on its way out. Actually, I dont think the lake had anything to do with it....more likely just progress...farming is a dying art...the factories are all but gone...including the Woolrich plant in Howard...(good ol' Woolrich...what once was VERY well made clothing and blankets is now cheap crap made in china...big shock). And with things as they are now little towns dont need to have their own stores and town sqares anymore....big business has seen to that.
When I was in Howard Elementary we had classes of approx. 25-30 students....now there arent a total of 85 children TOTAL for K-6...meaning families arent staying in nowhere to raise their kids anymore. It seems to me that Howard has become a sleeper town for State college and Penn State (the reason center county Taxes are off the charts and how even in howard crappy old houses a century old (and NOT mantained) can sell for 200+ grand. The stupid Haven Home I grew up in sold for over 129,000 about a decade ago...and I assure you it wasnt worth it...and I believe the church paid around 8,000 for it when it was "new".
But the lake is beautiful...the dyke around the town was fantastic for sledding in the winter...and its still a nice peaceful little town. Id even consider retiring there if the opportunity arrises. The people are friendly...and the views from the snobs knob are pretty....and that reminds me...Catherman should be ashamed of building that monster eyesoar home at the highest point...sheeesh...overkill dontcha think? At least you didnt block anyones view with that thing.
Switching gears....I vaugely remember the flood of 72 (I was four...but I do remember walking out to the causeway with Mrs Hollar to see it covered with water.)...and again a near repeat in '86...a water problem never resolved I might add (the spillway is higher than the wall around the town...not good)...so if you live here dont be on either end of main street or anywhere along the creek.
If I could take Howard back to 1985 I would. The Uniturd had replaced Bronsons garage and was pretty nice when it first opened...the IGA was up and running and had a killer deli...Reds was the center of my existance and the lake was my playground. Oh, and one more note on REDS...whoever bought it in '89 and immediately got rid of the pinball, video games, jukebox...painted everything pastel and trashed the decor along with the menu...you should be flogged. Exactly what planet did you think that would work on?
If you are going to be new to the area...and most likely working in State College...then Howard is a great place to live. The cost of living isnt as insane as State College and you dont have to worry about tripping over drunken student idiots and the annual WE WON/WE LOST riots. The drive isnt that far and is very easy....and the lake is really nice in the summer so buy a boat. The state park is still beyond cool for camping and despite the naysayers and anti-lake individuals, the water will not suck the paint off your house, cause the plauge or sneak up on you and drown you in your sleep. The school is still operating (I believe...it was in 2004 anyway)...the scenery is beautiful and there are several churches in town. A casual atmosphere and a laid back pace...not in a hurry to go anywhere and in no rush to have anywhere get there. If your kids can forgive you for making them go to Bald Eagle for high school then this is the place to be...close enough to the "big city"....snicker...for shopping, work , etc...and far enough away to be peaceful and relaxing.
Howard is a great little town I would recommend to anyone...and did I mention the TWINKISS is still there?...its outside of a town a couple miles...but it rocks...just ask anybody where it is, I'm sure they can tell you. HOWARD RULES!....Lock Haven...well...I digress.
Bp | State College, PA