Discover Memorial Day’s Origin and the Real Meaning of Remembrance in Boalsburg

Kick Off the Travel Season with a Pennsylvania Roadtrip from

HARRISBURG, Pa., April 27 /PRNewswire/ — Memorial Day is as American as apple pie, but Pennsylvania is the only place in the nation where you can celebrate this day of honor in the town that created it: Boalsburg.

In 1864, in a quiet and peaceful corner of Boalsburg, near State College, Emma Hunter, Sophie Keller and Elizabeth Myers gathered to honor family and friends who had died serving their country in the Civil War. The ladies promised to meet the following year, but when that day arrived, all of Boalsburg had turned out to decorate every grave with flowers and flags – and Memorial Day was born.

Boalsburg hasn’t lost its charm over the generations. People who visit the village say it’s like taking a step back in time to the days when most of America was rural. In Boalsburg, many of its 20,000 residents still walk to the Post Office to pick up their mail, grab a bite to eat at the local lunch counter and greet passing neighbors from the comfort of their front porches.

But each May, during the three-day weekend it put on the map, the town more than doubles in size as it welcomes visitors from all over the country. The Memorial Day celebration in Boalsburg is known as “A Day in Towne” and includes a parade, races, special exhibits and living history demonstrations. The event culminates with a traditional walk to the very same cemetery that “the three ladies” visited 142 years ago.

For an extended stay, Boalsburg offers many other family-friendly attractions nearby:

— Penn State University in State College operates the nation’s largest
university creamery, featuring 100 flavors and dishing up more than
750,000 cones each year. The original creamery opened its doors in

— East of Boalsburg is the town that gave the world Little League
Baseball in 1939. Williamsport is home to the Little League World
Series (Aug. 18-27) and the Little League Museum, among other
family-friendly attractions and activities, including the
Williamsport Crosscutters minor league baseball team;

— North of Boalsburg awaits the pristine Pennsylvania Wilds region,
which was recently named “one of the last untarnished tracts of land
on earth” by the Wildlife Conservation Society. The Wilds boasts the
darkest skies in the northeastern U.S. at Cherry Springs State Park;
the 40-mile, 1,000-foot-deep Pine Creek Gorge; and the largest,
free-roaming elk herd east of the Mississippi.

For more information about historic Boalsburg, or for help in planning your own roadtrip across the State of Independence, go to

The Pennsylvania Tourism Office, under the state Department of Community and Economic Development, is dedicated to fulfilling the needs and aspirations of travelers by presenting them with the information and resources they need to plan and enjoy the activities, attractions and destinations that are uniquely Pennsylvania. For more information about Pennsylvania’s tourism industry, go to, or call (800) VISIT PA.

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