The Highlands encompasses land and historic buildings associated with the residential history of State College from its incorporation in 1896 to 1941 and the beginning of World War II. It is immediately adjacent, to the South and East, of the University and downtown area. An area called Highland Park was developed in 1909. A decade later John Henszey and Eugene Lederer introduced new homes on Foster, Fairmount, Prospect and Hamilton Avenues. They also developed what they considered “the most beautiful fraternity section in the country.”
Representations of Colonial revival, Neoclassical, Tudor Revival, and other historic styles were built primarily between 1925 and 1933.
Some of the Borough’s most renowned developers and architects have left their marks on the Highlands neighborhood, in addition to Henszey and Lederer, O.W. Houts, Frederick Disque, A. Lawrence Kocher, and William Hajjar are represented. Several “mail order houses” offered by Sears, Roebuck and Co., the Aladdin Co., and the Gordon-Van Tine Co. are represented in the district. Some of the historic brick duplexes along South Atherton Street and Westerly Parkway, built by Shapiro Construction, of White Plains, NY, in the mid -1940’s for Ordinance Research Lab employees, are part of the Highlands.