Harrisburg has been an important transportation center since the days of riverboat traffic. In colonial days, John Harris operated a ferry at Harrisburg. Its western boundary is formed by the Susquehanna River. This location played an important part in its selection as the capital of Pennsylvania in 1812. Because of its location, Harrisburg played a large part in the early development of the Pennsylvania canal system and the subsequent development of the railroads, highways and airlines. Today, Harrisburg is one of the most important commercial centers and distribution points in the East.
At the turn of the 20th Century, spurred by the design of New York’s Central Park by the Frederick Olmsted, a nationwide conservancy effort began. In Harrisburg that movement was spearheaded by City natives J. Horace McFarland and Mira Lloyd Dock, who established Harrisburg’s League of Municipal Improvements. In 1901, their visionary efforts, collectively known and “The City Beautiful Movement,”established Harrisburg’s first official park system and saw to its expansion over the next decade to include Riverfront Park, Reservoir Park, City Island and what is today known as the Capital Area Greenbelt.
Since that time Harrisburg has gone through many transformations. By the early 1980s, Harrisburg’s once grand park system had become symbolic of the blighted city around it. Harrisburg was near bankruptcy and been declared the second most distressed city in the nation. The City’s parks were in a terrible state of repair and were widely misused for criminal activity. The 1982 election of reformist Mayor Stephen R. Reed changed everything for the City, especially the suffering parks system. The Mayor’s Parks Improvement Program was born and saw the investment of more than $29 million since 1984, a proverbial phoenix of greenery rising from the ashes of decades of neglect. New developers and preservationists have adhered to the program in the years since.
Our walking tour will start at the symbol of the Commonwealth, the State Capitol, a building President Theodore Roosevelt proclaimed as “the most beautiful building he had ever seen” when he attended its dedication in 1906...
Pennsylvania State Capitol
head of State Street at N 3rd Street
When John Harris Jr. laid out the town of Harrisburg in 1785 he gave land to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania that was later used for the Capitol grounds. The capitol building is an Italian Renaissance-style statehouse. It is an example of outstanding architecture, with collections of art and sculpture, including large murals. On the floor of the main hallway, tiles show Pennsylvania’s history, symbols, insects and animals. The current Capitol is the third state capitol to be in Harrisburg. Before it was moved to Harrisburg, the seat of government for the state was in Philadelphia and in Lancaster. The first capitol burned down in 1897 and the second was left unfinished when funding ran out. The third Harrisburg capitol was designed by Joseph Miller Huston and was dedicated in 1906. After its completion, the Capitol was the site of a graft scandal when it was discovered that the construction and subsequent furnishing cost three times as much as what the General Assembly had appropriated. Regardless, at the dedication of the Capitol building in 1906, President Teddy Roosevelt described this structure as “the handsomest building I ever saw.” The exterior of the capitol is made from granite from Hardwick, Vermont. The Capitol Dome, rising 272 feet and weighing 52 million pounds, is topped by the gilded, brass statue of Commonwealth by Roland Hinton Perry. The statue stands 14 feet 6 inches tall, atop a 4-foot diameter ball, and is the personification of a commonwealth. The large, bronze doors at the Capitol’s main entrance were designed by Huston, were modeled by sculptor Otto Jahnsen and were both cast in one piece using the lost wax method of casting by the Henry Bonnard Bronze Company. The doors are decorated with scenes from the history of Pennsylvania, with busts of people who were important in the construction of the capitol. The entrance is flanked by two sculptures, entitled Love and Labor: The Unbroken Law and The Burden of Life: The Broken Law.
TURN AROUND AND WALK DOWN STATE STREET TOWARDS THE SUSQUEHANNA RIVER.
Grace United Methodist Church
216 State Street
This church, built between 1873 and 1878, can be said to have saved Harrisburg from losing its status as the Capital of Pennsylvania. Since 1809, efforts were made to return the Capital from its temporary location at Lancaster to Philadelphia where it was prior to 1799. Philadelphia loyalists tried unsuccessfully to effectuate this move when Harrisburg was chosen as the Capital in 1810. They tried again in 1816 when the appropriation to build the first Capitol Building was approved, as well as at times during the Civil War and again in 1897 after the original Capitol Building was totally destroyed by fire. It was argued that Harrisburg had no facilities large enough to accommodate the Legislature and Administration. Had it not been for the civic responsibility of the congregation and clergy of the then known Grace Methodist Episcopal Church, Philadelphia may have again become the Capital of Pennsylvania. The Church opened it doors to the State Legislature, which occupied the sanctuary and Sunday School rooms until the interim Capitol was readied in 1899. During that time, the church’s congregation worshiped at the Grand Opera House at Third and Walnut Streets. Grace Methodist was erected of limestone in the Gothic Revival style with one of the tallest and most distinctive spires in the City. The Church also became established as the site of concerts and musical productions and is the birthplace of the Harrisburg Coral Society.
Saint Patrick’s Cathedral
208 State Street
The magnificent Renaissance Revival-styled Seat of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Harrisburg is the second to rise from this prominent State Street property. Completed in 1907, Saint Patrick’s Cathedral replaced its more modest predecessor, which was erected in 1827 and enlarged and remodeled over the years. By 1868, the growth of the Roman Catholic population in Central Pennsylvania, particularly spurred by the influx of the Irish who worked on the canal system, resulted in the papacy decreeing the establishment of the Diocese of Harrisburg, carved from that of Philadelphia, which would serve fifteen counties in the central portion of the Commonwealth. Saint Patrick’s was established as the new diocese’s pro-cathedral. With the turn of the 20th century, and the construction of the new Capitol Building, old Saint Patrick’s was replaced by this impressive and largest church building in Harrisburg, emulating in style the Basilica of Saint Peter in Rome.
RETURN TO THE STATE CAPITOL AND TURN LEFT ON N 3RD STREET.
State Museum of Pennsylvania
N 3rd Street and North Street
In 1903, Samuel W. Pennypacker, a member of the Historical Society of Pennsylvania became Pennsylvania’s twenty-fourth governor. After Pennypacker took office, lawmakers drafted a bill for an appropriation of $50,000 for a new building for the state museum and archives. In 1964 a new depository for Pennsylvania’s heritage was opened here. From an architectural history perspective, the William Penn Memorial Building reflects the style of Modern design for public buildings of the late 1950s and early 1960s that swept Harrisburg.
TURN LEFT ON NORTH STREET. TURN LEFT ON 2ND STREET.
Hope Fire Station
606 N 2nd Street
The City’s oldest surviving fire station was built in 1871. Rehabilitated and converted, the tin ceiling and spiral staircase are part of the building’s original features.
RETURN TO NORTH STRET AND TURN LEFT.
Harrisburg Central YMCA
701 N Front Street, northeast corner of North Street
Founded in 1844 in London, England, by George Williams, the Young Men’s Christian Association quickly grew in the United States with Harrisburg, in 1854, being one of the first eight cities in the nation to establish a chapter. Located at various sites in the downtown during the last half of the 19th Century, the YMCA erected its first headquarters building in 1902 at the southwest corner of Second and Locust Streets. By 1931, the “Y” had outgrown that building and a year later completed the present magnificently appointed structure at N. Front and North Streets on what had been the site of the Harrisburg Cotton Factory. Erected in 1850, the factory was Harrisburg’s first industry that was modeled after the textile plants of New England and was established to help enhance the city’s industrial base by providing work for women and children so as to maximize the earning power of Harrisburg families. With the supply of cotton cut off from the South during the Civil War, the factory temporarily served as a wartime hospital and by the 1880’s, as a silk mill until its demise in the late 1920’s. Designed by the Harrisburg architectural firm of Lawrie and Green, the replacement structure serving as the YMCA building is truly an impressive edifice of the Italian Romanesque style, incorporating elements from various baptisteries, cathedrals and churches in northern Italy. It was the YMCA’s mission to have its buildings emulate sacred architecture to reflect the Christian principals of the organization. Highlighted with decorative stonework and terra-cotta trim, the “Y” headquarters continues to serve the community in the development of mind, body and spirit.
the foot of North Street at N Front Street
The stone portion dates to 1841. At one time, the City’s principal facility pumped water from the old City Island filtration plant to the original reservoir on North Street and later to Reservoir Park. It was expanded in 1904. A recent renovation to adaptive use has created prestigious office space.
TURN LEFT ON N FRONT STREET.
Civic Club of Harrisburg
612 N Front Street
This building, one of only two to survive on the west side of Front Street and ensconced within the idyllic setting of Riverfront Park, was erected between 1901 and 1903 by William Reynolds Fleming as a single family home which he named “Overlook.” Fleming was one of the founders of the internationally known and Harrisburg area-headquartered engineering firm of Gannett Fleming, Inc. Designed in the half-timbered, English Tudor style, the house was willed to the Civic Club of Harrisburg upon the death of Fleming’s widow, Virginia, in 1914. The home was substantial and prominent, unlike the older Hardscrabble neighborhood on the west side of Front Street above Forest Street that was demolished to make way for northward expansion of Riverfront Park. The Civic Club, due to its architectural and institutional stature and adjacency to the still- functioning Old Waterworks at that time, remained untouched.
James Donald Cameron Mansion
404 N Front Street
During the midst of the Civil War fury in 1863 would rise this magnificent residence, which was purchased in 1870 by J. Donald Cameron (1833-1918), son of Simon Cameron. The elder Cameron had served as Abraham Lincoln’s first Secretary of War and was the organizer of one of the most powerful and lasting state political machines in U.S. history. Son J. Donald continued the Cameron legacy as Secretary of War to President Ulysses Grant and later as Pennsylvania U.S. Senator from 1877 to 1897. Grant visited this home while President and was reportedly seen smoking cigars while relaxing on the side veranda facing State Street. He was involved in manufacturing and railroad operations and, with his father, helped to get Rutherford B. Hayes and James Garfield elected to The White House. He also helped found many of Harrisburg’s public and cultural institutions. J. Donald’s home, designed in the classic Second Empire style, remained in the family until his last surviving daughter, Mary Cameron died in 1959.
William Maclay Mansion
401 N Front Street
This was the home of William Maclay (1737-1804); statesman, surveyor, lawyer, the County’s first U.S. Senator and son-in-law of John Harris Jr., the founder of Harrisburg. It was Maclay and Harris who laid out the plan of Harrisburg in 1785 with the northern boundary, ironically, at South street. North of this point was located Maclay’s farm and land known as Maclaysburg situated between the River and the hill where the Old Capitol would be constructed in 1822. Maclay’s distinction of being the first U.S. Senator came after the Articles of Confederation provided for the organization of the new Federal government when the ninth state ratified the U.S. Constitution in 1788. Pennsylvania became the first state to elect its Senators through the State Legislature with Maclay being the first and Robert Morris, the second. Erected in 1792, Maclay’s dwelling originally had the appearance of a simple stone farmhouse with high foundation and elevated first floor. In 1908, the home was purchased by William E. Bailey, a descendant of an early Harrisburg iron and steel industrialist family, who enlisted the expertise of City architect Miller Kast to transform the house into a Georgian Revival masterpiece. At that time, additions were made to the north, where a building housing the Harrisburg Academy once stood, and to the east. The mansion is now beautifully preserved by the Pennsylvania Bar Association, its current owner and occupant.
305 N Front Street
During the second term of Andrew G. Curtin (1864) the state purchased a new Governor’s residence at 313 N. Front Street in exchange for the previous Second Street home plus $20,000. The size of this house became inadequate as well. The adjoining lot was purchased, and an identical house was built during the administration of John W. Geary (1867-1873). A brownstone facade was later constructed to unify the two structures, and the expanded residence became known as “Keystone Hall.” Due to the poor condition of Keystone Hall by the 1940s some governors opted to reside in a fieldstone house at Fort Indiantown Gap Military Reservation, located 22 miles east of Harrisburg. Although Governor James permitted the sale of Keystone Hall in 1941, it wasn’t until the administration of David L. Lawrence (1959-1963) that the house was sold for a bid of $85,500 to the Insurance Company of North America. The residence, which had housed 17 governors and their families, was razed and replaced with a parking lot. In 1990 the City’s first condominium project opened on the site, with the building designed to complement the scale and character of historic Front Street.
221 N Front Street
Directly adjacent to the Cathedral to the south is the Second Empire-styled Chapter House, the Cathedral administrative center. likewise erected as a single-family residence and dating to 1870, it begins a trio of Cathedral buildings that exhibits a well-preserved cluster of distinctive architectural periods of old Front Street.
Episcopal Cathedral Church of St. Stephen
219 N Front Street
Although the Founder of Harrisburg, John Harris, Jr., was a member of the Church of England, it was not until 1826 that a permanent Episcopal church building was erected here. Consecrated on St. John’s Day, 1827, by Bishop William White, who was First Presiding Bishop of the Episcopal Church, Rector of Christ Church, Philadelphia, and Chaplain of the Continental Congress, what was known as St. Stephen’s Protestant Episcopal Church retains to this day its original Gothic Revival-styled exterior. Before 1865, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania was one Episcopal Dioceses. Territorial restructuring over the ensuing decades led to the creation of the Diocese of Harrisburg in 1904 (now the Diocese of Central Pennsylvania). Official designation of St. Stephens as a “Cathedral” Church would occur in 1932.
215 N Front Street
Now known as the Cathedral House, this classic Greek Revival-styled residential structure was acquired by St. Stephen’s in 1918 for use as the home of the Church’s Dean. Erected circa1840, it is one of the finest examples of this form of architecture in the Harrisburg area. The building presently serves as the St. Stephen’s Episcopal School which provides a primary through middle school-level curriculum.
The Calder/Olmsted/McCormick Mansion
105 N Front Street
The origins of the mansion can be attributed to William Calder, Jr. (1821-1880), Simon Cameron’s business partner, banker and manufacturer. Calder’s father had been a pre-eminent Harrisburg stage coach operator and helped to establish Harrisburg’s importance as a transportation center as the nucleus of early route development throughout the U.S. northeast. Calder Jr. was co-founder and president of the Harrisburg Car Works, president of the First National Bank of Harrisburg and was president and director of the Harrisburg Cotton Factory that stood at the current site of the Harrisburg Central YMCA. Calder’s original house was a fancy three story stone mansion in the Second Empire style with mansard roof. Following his death, Calder’s widow continued to reside at the property until it was sold in 1901 to Marlin E. Olmsted (1847-1913), U.S. Congressman for 16 years and nationally known attorney who had argued many cases before the U.S. Supreme Court. Olmsted is particularly credited for his success as a tax and corporation attorney, winning cases for large companies and making him highly sought after by corporations throughout the nation. Olmsted converted the house to a palatial Italian Renaissance styled edifice commensurate with the growth of Harrisburg’s stature as State Capital. many noted figures dined at this residence including U.S. President Howard Taft. After Olmsted’s death, his widow, Gertrude Howard Olmsted, who was known for serving many cultural and humanitarian causes in Harrisburg, in 1925 married former Harrisburg mayor, business leader, U.S. Ambassador and Patriot-News editor Vance McCormick of the Harrisburg McCormick Dynasty. They lived at the home until McCormick died in 1946 and she in 1953.
James McCormick Mansion
101 N Front Street
This house was built in 1869 by James McCormick, Jr. (1832-1917), a noted banker, industrialist, community leader and member of one of Harrisburg’s oldest families. His father, James McCormick Sr., was one of the early Presidents of Dauphin Deposit Bank (now Allfirst Bank). James Jr. succeeded his father in this role as did his son Donald m. McCormick, resulting in the family having leadership roles in the bank for over a century from 1840 to 1945. the house is one of the best surviving examples of the stylish mansions which would rise on Front Street after the Civil War. Second Empire in architectural style, the edifice is beautifully executed in design and detail. the house stayed in the McCormick family until Donald willed it to the Harrisburg Public Library (now Dauphin County Library System) upon his death in 1945. the house remained the property of the Library until 1976 when it was sold for professional offices. It has since undergone several restorations and remains a true landmark of mid-19th Century Harrisburg.
Harrisburg Public Library
southeast corner of N Front Street and Walnut Street
Founded in 1889, the Harrisburg Public Library became a national model of 19th Century efforts to bring the world’s information to community residents, a role that continues today. Its first home was at 125 Locust Street in a building erected by James McCormick, Jr., which still stands. McCormick lived around the corner at 101 N. Front Street, just across Walnut Street from the side yard garden of the Haldeman Mansion at 27 N. Front Street. It was here that Jacob Haldeman’s daughter, Sara Haldeman Haly, would continue to reside until her death in 1895. the Haldeman mansion had been erected circa 1810 and served as the residence of Governor John Andrew Shultz from 1823 to 1829. Like the McCormick’s, the Haldemans were an old Harrisburg family involved in the transportation, banking and manufacturing industries. In 1900, the executors of Sara Haldeman Haly’s estate donated the side yard garden of her home to the Library. Thereon, the present library building was constructed in 1914. Limestone in construction and Georgian Revival in style, the building continued to serve as the Harrisburg Public Library until 1976 when it evolved into the Dauphin County Library system, with branches now situated across the county.
Art Association of Harrisburg
21 N Front Street
The former home of Governor William Findlay (1817-1821) is now the home of the Art Association, founded in 1926 with working artist studios and a school. The original 1815 brick building was surfaced with brownstone around 1850.
N Front Street between Strawberry and Walnut streets
This outstanding row of townhouses built between 1812 and 1840 served as homes to several early Pennsylvania governors. They represent a variety of well-executed and painstakingly preserved architectural styles of the early to mid-19th century.
Market Street Bridge
N Front Street at Market Street
The Market Street Bridge, also known as the old Camelback Bridge, is a stone arch bridge that spans the Susquehanna River between Harrisburg, Pennsylvania and Wormleysburg, Pennsylvania. The current structure is the third bridge built at its current location and is the second oldest remaining bridge connecting Harrisburg’s downtown and Riverfront Park with the West Shore. Construction for the Camelback Bridge headed by Jacob Nailor began in 1814 and it was finally opened as a toll bridge in 1820. It was the first structure built anywhere to cross the Susquehanna River. The Camelback enjoyed a monopoly until the completion of the neighboring Walnut Street Bridge in 1890. In 1902 the Camelback Bridge was destroyed by a flood and in 1905 a two- lane replacement bridge was erected at the same location. The present structure, with its graceful stone-glad arches, is the result of the 1926 widening of the replacement bridge. Columns at the Harrisburg entrance to the bridge were salvaged from the old State Capitol which burned in 1897.
CROSS THE BRIDGE TO CITY ISLAND.
Susquehanna River at Market Street
This 63-acre Susquehanna River jewel and major tourism and recreational destination has lured human occupations not just since Harrisburg was founded and throughout the ensuing centuries but also by prehistoric native Americans beginning at least 9,000 years ago. This key land mass, set within the river, served as the convergence of ancient trails and would later establish the city’s prominence as a transportation center. The Island contains archaeological treasures of the Susquehannocks and the Iroquois tribes which established seasonal settlements here. The Island was reached only by boat during the initial development of Harrisburg until 1817 when the Camelback Bridge, site of the present-day Market Street Bridge, was completed. Known in its early years as Turkey Island, Maclay’s Island, Forster’s Island and Hargast Island, the land was originally used for truck farming. It would not be until the municipal improvements of the early 20th century that the Island would begin to develop into the park that it is today. While amateur baseball teams played here as early as the 1880s, professional baseball arrived in 1903, hosting both the Harrisburg Athletics and Negro League Harrisburg Giants baseball clubs. Such notables as Satchel Paige and Babe Ruth played ball here. Athletic fields were developed at the Island’s southern end and were the site of many track meets and other sporting events. In 1908, Jim Thorpe won the high jump here for the Carlisle Indians in statewide competition. The public works improvements of the early 20th century led to the construction of the City Island Filtration Plant, which extracted water from the river, filtered it in reservoirs which now define the edge of the Skyline Sports Complex, and pumped it by way of an under-the-riverbed tunnel to the Old Waterworks at Front and North Streets, which in turn pumped the water to the reservoirs in Reservoir Park. The bathhouse and concrete beach emerged by 1922 as the Island’s popularity grew. In the mid-1980s minor league baseball returned to Harrisburg with the construction of Riverside Stadium. Other attractions include Riverside Village, Harbourtown, Skyline Sports Complex, Carriage House, Harrisburg Riverboat, miniature golf, three boat marinas, the City Island Railroad and twenty other facilities.
RETURN TO HARRISBURG, USING EITHER THE MARKET STREET BRIDGE OR THE WALNUT STREET BRIDGE, THE PEDESTRIAN TRAVERSE ONE BLOCK TO THE NORTH.
Dauphin County Courthouse
southeast corner of Front Street and Market Street
Dauphin County’s third and present courthouse since the 1785 creation of the County was completed in 1943 at this, the traditional and most prominent entrance to the City of Harrisburg. It replaced the second Courthouse, erected in 1860, which stood on the northeast corner of Market and Court Streets. The present building, designed by the noted Harrisburg architectural firm of Lawrie and Green in the Neoclassical revival interpretation of the Art Deco style, is a monumental edifice representing a temple of justice as the seat of the County Court system. The building’s exterior is clad with white Georgia marble while its interior is laden with inscriptions, figurines, icons and carvings in wood, marble and glass tracing important elements to the founding and growth of Dauphin County as well as with symbols of law, justice and wisdom among many others. The main first floor lobby features an enlarged map of Dauphin County, depicting roads, towns and topographic features, which is inlayed in the terrazzo floor. The building is a treasure-trove of rich and unusual woods, a variety of marble and other quality building materials employed in a stylistic fashion making this a highly developed and beautifully executed example of the monolithic public building of its time. Note the stately front fountain and pool above where stands the statute of Youth Crushing Evil.
TURN RIGHT ON FRONT STREET AND TURN LEFT ON CHESTNUT STREET.
northwest corner of 2nd Street and Chestnut Street
The current era of hostelries in Harrisburg can be defined as having begun in 1965 with the construction of the Holiday Inn Town, now The Crowne Plaza. Prior to that time, the Harrisburger and Penn-Harris Hotels, at Third and Locust and Third and Walnut Streets respectively, were the city’s two principal hotels, both facing Capitol Park. The Harrisburger would close by 1968 and the Penn-Harris demolished in 1973. The Holiday Inn Town prevailed as the first newly constructed lodging facility since 1930 and, intriguingly, was totally independent from and unrelated to the Holiday Inn Hotel chain. the busy northwest corner of N. Second and Chestnut Streets had earlier been the site of Moller’s Drug store, a popular downtown destination. Although this and neighboring buildings were demolished in 1948, the site would not be developed until the Holiday Inn town was erected seventeen years later. With the closure of the Holiday Inn Town in the early 1990s, subsequent efforts by others to operate the facility as a hotel became unsuccessful. In order to stave off a subsequent bankruptcy sale, the City of Harrisburg boldly stepped in to acquire the building with the intent of selling it for continued use as a high quality conference hotel. The revitalization of Harrisburg’s downtown in fact rewarded the City’s innovative move as the property was acquired by a group of investors who undertook a multi-million dollar upgrade of the building and procured the prestigious Crowne Plaza flag. The 261-room hostelry was designated best Crowne Plaza in the western hemisphere upon opening in 2000.
Salem United Church of Christ
231 Chestnut Street
This is the oldest church building in the City, having been erected in 1822 by the German Reformed congregation on land designated for a church building by the original 1785 plan of Harrisburg.
TURN LEFT ON 3RD STREET.
22 S Third Street
This Italianate commercial building reigned as the tallest building in Harrisburg from the time it was built in 1874 until 1906. It was the former printing house for pre-World War I daily and weekly newspapers.
RETURN TO CHESTNUT STREET AND TURN LEFT TO CONTINUE WALKING AWAY FROM THE RIVER.
Harrisburg Transportation Center
4th and Chestnut streets
Harrisburg grew from its earliest days due to its strategic location as a gateway to western expansion, becoming one of the most important inland centers of U.S. transportation and trade. The development of rail lines along the same routes as the earlier canal systems converged in downtown Harrisburg. The original portion of the present station was opened November 23, 1887 at 8:00 p.m. Constructed of pressed laid brick in red mortar, Hummelstown Brownstone and terra cotta trim, the building cost $206,261. This complex was expanded in 1902 and 1910. Built by the mighty Pennsylvania Railroad, which established major operations in Harrisburg, it was the fourth train station on this site. The first was built in 1837 by a rail forerunner. It gave way to two facilities in 1849 and 1857, with both operated by the Pennsylvania Railroad. Queen Anne in style, the present building was a hub for millions of rail passengers over a century. In 1922, during railroading’s Golden Years, more than 100 trains arrived and departed here each day. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the Old Pennsylvania Railroad Station, now the Harrisburg Transportation Center, is particularly distinguished by its lofty train sheds, a rarity in the United States, and by the thorough restoration that presents to current and future rail passengers a fitting “welcome mat” to the city which lies beyond.
TURN LEFT ON 4TH STREET.
Zion Lutheran Church
15 S 4th Street
“Tippecanoe and Tyler Too” was the familiar political slogan of the 1839 Presidential Campaign. The Campaign began when William Henry Harrison and John Tyler were nominated as the Whig candidates for U.S. President and Vice President in this church, now altered from its original appearance. The Whig Convention here made Harrisburg the smallest city to ever host a U.S. presidential convention. Both men won and both eventually became President. The congregation of Zion Lutheran Church has been rooted to this property since the erection of its predecessor church on the same site in 1814, which burned in 1838. Having split from the German Reformed congregation, which built Salem Reformed Church (now Salem United Church of Christ) around the corner on Chestnut Street in 1822, the present Zion Lutheran was completed in 1839, just in time for the Presidential Convention. The graves of the original cemetery at the rear of the Church were relocated to Harrisburg Cemetery in the mid-19th Century when this portion of the downtown became more developed.
CROSS MARKET STREET.
Harrisburg First Church of God
15 North 4th Street
Considered the mother church of the Church of God denomination, which was founded in Harrisburg in 1827 by Rev. John Winebrenner. He studied at Dickinson College, Carlisle, and was ordained in the German Reformed Church in 1820. He pastored at Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, where his revival preaching and his Revival Hymn-Book (1825) brought about a break between his followers and the Reformed Church. This building dates to 1854.
RETURN TO MARKET STREET AND TURN RIGHT, TOWARDS THE RIVER.
333 Market Street
At 341 feet in height, 333 Market Street represents the pinnacle of Harrisburg’s robust skyline and is not only the City’s tallest building, but also the tallest of any building located between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Built in 1977 as part of the first generation of new development in Center City under the Harristown Urban Renewal Plan, 333 Market Street followed shortly after the construction of Phase I of Strawberry Square in fulfilling the strategy of locating expanding state office space in the Central Business District, rather than in areas involving the demolition of neighborhoods north of the Capitol Complex. This strategy would further increase downtown’s workforce population, a key to the city’s economic revitalization. The south side of the 300 Block of Market Street between Dewberry and Fourth Streets was traditionally laden with retail and commercial establishments. At its eastern end stood the original Metropolitan Hotel built in 1908 which was expanded several years later and renamed the Governor Hotel. The Harrisburg YWCA temporarily occupied the structure in the 1970’s before moving into new quarters. While all other buildings on this block were demolished for the new skyscraper, the Governor Hotel was spared and now serves as apartments for senior citizens. Buildings replaced by 333 Market included the popular 150-room William Penn Hotel, built in 1922, and the original Davenport Restaurant that grew into a national food service chain operating under several familiar trade names. Today, 333 Market Street, as home to the Pennsylvania Departments of Education and Banking and supported by the abutting 1,088-car Chestnut Street Parking Garage, well illustrates the intensity of Harrisburg’s modern Center City development.
301 Market Street
This building was erected in 1914 as the home of the Mechanics Trust Company, a Harrisburg bank that later went “bust” during the Depression. the Bank was one of many of the era that made Harrisburg the region’s financial center, a role the city has expanded in the present day. It also served as one of Harrisburg’s first high-rise office buildings, contributing to the early 20th Century urbanization of City Center. Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, the building is architecturally unique through its white, glazed terra cotta, tiled exterior. In 1925, the structure was expanded from six bays to ten bays in depth through the application of the identical architectural style and height to that of the original structure. Originally known as the Kunkel Building in honor of Charles Kunkel, Chairman of the Mechanics Trust Company, the structure now serves as a tower for arts organizations, including the Susquehanna Art Museum.
Lochiel Hotel/Colonial Building
227 Market Steet; corner of E Market Street
This building was erected in 1835 in the Greek Revival architectural style and was originally known as the Wilson Hotel. Such notables as Daniel Webster and singer Jenny Lind stayed here. It was a nationally known favorite of 19th Century political figures. Major Marcus Reno (U.S. Army, 7th Cavalry) of Little Big Horn fame frequented this establishment. In the late 1800’s, the building was “Victorianized” through the creation of the mansard roof and window trim embellishments and was renamed the Lochiel Hotel. The hotel continued as a popular lodging destination until 1912 when it was transformed into the Colonial Theater, a lavishly decorated vaudeville theater house, which later doubled as a movie theater, and where many of the Nation’s noteworthy actors took stage. Although efforts were launched to preserve the theater in the early 1980’s, long-term neglect resulted in its physical collapse onto S. Third Street in September, 1983, with no injuries. Because the building had been listed in the National Register of Historic Places several years earlier, extraordinary efforts were made to save the front portion of the structure.
Dauphin Deposit Trust Company
213 Market Street
Dauphin traces its history to the opening of the Harrisburg Savings Institution in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, on September 28, 1835. With $50,000 in start-up capital, the bank was founded by several prominent men of Dauphin County and established on the site of a tavern on Market Street in downtown Harrisburg. Built the same year, this is the oldest bank building in metropolitan Harrisburg and still used for banking. The original Greek Revival design remains intact, inside and out with a dazzling interior with vaulted ceiling and neoclassical cornicing and detailing. Survivor of several Economic Panics, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and two World Wars, the banking operations in this building were guided from 1840 to 1945 by three generations of one of Harrisburg’s most influential families, the McCormicks, and also by the Camerons. The bank and these families were responsible for the founding of the City’s primary cultural and educational institutions as well as many of its businesses and industries. Established in Harrisburg in 1834, what was originally known as the Harrisburg Savings Institution was by 1845 named the Dauphin Deposit Bank. The Bank played a strategic role in Harrisburg’s emergence as a major industrial, railroad, commercial and financial center in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. The building, designed by local architect Samuel Holman, was erected in 1839 in the Greek Revival architectural style exemplifying a well-executed form of architecture traditionally associated with the banking industry in the United States. The bank grew to become a regional bank through the 20th Century. Note the granite hitching post on the front sidewalk that has been painstakingly preserved over the decades and may very well be as old as the bank building itself.
ARRIVE IN MARKET SQUARE AND TURN LEFT ON 2ND STREET.
southeast corner of Market Street and 2nd Street
Crisply designed, this landmark Market Square office tower was completed in 1990 and serves as the home of several major law firms and to Harrisburg’s main presence of M&T Bank. The building stands as a major contributor to the revitalization of the Market Square area. The first floor lobby features an enlarged map of Dauphin County, depicting roads, towns and topographic features, which is inlayed in the terrazzo floor. The building is a treasure-trove of rich and unusual woods, a variety of marble and other quality building materials.
17-19 S Second Street
1906 was a banner year in Harrisburg for the construction of major buildings. The new State Capitol Building was completed that year and two “book-end” office structures were developed on Market Square. One was the eight-story Union Trust Building at N. Second and Strawberry Streets, dubbed as Harrisburg’s first skyscraper. The other, first known as the Johnston Building, is located here at S. Second and Blackberry Streets. Originally only four stories in height, the Johnston Building was built for the Johnston Paper Company, Harrisburg’s first paper bag business founded by Robert A. Johnston in the 1880s. Johnston initially formed a partnership with Harrisburg businessman William Mayne Donaldson in the wholesale paper and printing supply business at Second and Locust Streets. In 1906 they went their separate ways with Donaldson forming the Donaldson Paper Company, remaining at Second and Locust, and Johnston moving to his new facility on Market Square. In 1912, two floors were added to the Italianate-styled building giving it a more urban presence. In 1924, Beckley College, forerunner to today’s Thompson Institute, established its administrative offices in the building’s upper stories. By the late 1970s, the building was a candidate for one of Harrisburg’s earlier revitalization projects. It was thoroughly restored including the removal of insensitive signage and alterations which had obscured the building’s first floor rusticated piers and window fenestration. When completed in 1977, the building became a fitting anchor to the south side of Market Square and captures the architectural flavor of Harrisburg’s early 20th Century office development.
Market Square Presbyterian Church
20 S 2nd Street
The church was established on February 16, 1794 when a session was formed and the congregation gained its independence from its parent congregation, Paxton Presbyterian Church. Harrisburg’s oldest Presbyterian congregation is also the oldest surviving building on Market Square, having been built in 1860. Its prominent Romanesque-styled church spire is the City’s tallest at 193 feet.
Dauphin County Administrative Office Buildings
southwest corner of Second Street and Market Street
This renovated former bank now does duty as the newest addition to the Dauphin County Government Complex. It houses additional courtroom space, offices of the Dauphin County Commissioners and other operations of the County Administration.
TURN LEFT ON MARKET STREET.
112 Market Street
This building was erected in 1920 for the offices of the Pennsylvania Public Services Commission and was one of the first buildings in downtown Harrisburg intended to be leased for state offices. Originally known as the Claster Building, having been built by local merchant Henry C. Claster, the structure replaced the “footprint” of the earlier Board of Trade Building erected on the same site in the 1890’s as Harrisburg further evolved as a major industrial, commercial and financial center in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. The Harrisburg Board of Trade would ultimately become the Harrisburg Chamber of Commerce, now the Harrisburg Regional Chamber, and was the site of operations of the Harrisburg League of Municipal Improvements which spearheaded the City Beautiful Movement. The Claster Building, renamed the Blackstone Building in the mid 20th Century, was used for a variety of office purposes as well as for the studios with rooftop transmission tower of early radio station WKBO. It was acquired by Dauphin County as an expansion of the County Government Complex in the early 1980’s. With many interior and exterior alterations made over the years, the County thoroughly overhauled the building including the reconstruction of previously altered curtain walls and windows to emulate its original 1920 Art Deco-styled appearance.
RETURN TO 2ND STREET AND TURN LEFT.
Penn National Tower
northwest corner of Second Street and Market Street
The world headquarters of Penn National Insurance was erected in 1996. The cross-vaulted roof design and distinctive Keystone icons enhance Harrisburg’s skyline.
Martin Luther King Municipal Center
10 N 2nd Street
Built in 1982 to serve as Harrisburg’s City Hall, this is the only municipal building in the world to be named after Dr. King. The interior features a stunning interior and sky lit atrium.
Hilton Harrisburg and Towers
northeast corner of Market Street and 2nd Street
When it opened amidst regalia and fanfare in the fall of 1990, the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers reclaimed Harrisburg’s traditional role as Central Pennsylvania’s primary destination for the lodging and conference industry. Although plans for a major new hotel were advanced as early as 1974, it was not until the mid-1980s that concreted efforts were made, under the leadership of the City of Harrisburg, to muster the resources required to engage in such a major undertaking. the northeast quadrant of Market Square had been prominent since the town’s founding in 1785, particularly as it faced the old market houses located in the center of the Square that were the borough’s primary source of commerce and trade. A row of brick residences and weather-boarded log houses soon gave way to the developing commercial center. Early to be established here were Harrisburg’s first post office, the Russ Fish and Produce Market, and the studios of Civil War-era photographer LaRue Lemer. John and Francis Wyeth, offspring of John Wyeth Sr.,who had established Harrisburg’s first newspaper in 1792, operated a drug store and bookstore here. The block would later become home to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, at 11 N. Second Street, until its present headquarters on Market Street was completed in 1953. Other attractions such as the popular Senate Theater and Caplan’s Department Store would rise here. Having undergone several generations of development from its humble beginnings, Market Square’s northeastern quadrant is now occupied by just one building. With 341 rooms, one of the largest ballrooms in Central Pennsylvania, fine restaurants, and enclosed walkway linkage to other downtown attractions, the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers has also been a catalyst to Harrisburg’s growing after hours entertainment industry.
TURN RIGHT ON WALNUT STREET.
Old City Hall
423 Walnut Street
In the early 1900s, as the downtown area grew, many grand buildings were constructed to serve the growing needs of the community, as well as local and state governments. One of those impressive new structures, a cut-stone building, was designed in 1910 by prominent architect, Charles Lloyd, to serve as Tech High School. In 1928, Harrisburg’s city government moved in and many dramatic changes were made to make the interior as imposing as the facade. A grand staircase in the lobby, offset by oak paneling, marble and brass accents and a cast plaster ceiling were a few of the unique architectural details added. In 1982 the building was given new life when Historic Landmarks For Living transformed it into a luxury loft apartment building. What was originally known as the Harrisburg Savings Institution was by 1845 named the Dauphin Deposit Bank. The Bank played a strategic role in Harrisburg’s emergence as a major industrial, railroad, commercial and financial center in the U.S. mid-Atlantic region. The building, designed by local architect Samuel Holman, was erected in 1839 in the Greek Revival architectural style exemplifying a well-executed form of architecture traditionally associated with the banking industry in the United States. The bank grew to become a regional bank through the 20th Century. Note the granite hitching post on the front sidewalk that has been painstakingly preserved over the decades and may very well be as old as the bank building itself.
CROSS OVER THE STREET ONTO THE CAPITOL GROUNDS.
South Office Building
Capitol Grounds, southeast of the Capitol Building
This was the first separate building to be erected in the original Capitol Complex of the 20th Century which would ultimately evolve into a grand neoclassical and symmetrically organized collection of stately buildings. It was completed in 1921.
TURN LEFT AND WALK THROUGH THE CAPITOL COMPLEX HEADING TOWARDS THE RIVER.
Matthew Ryan Legislative Office Building
Capitol Grounds, south of the Capitol Building
By the late 1880s, the Old Capitol Building erected in 1822 was becoming limited in space due to the inevitable expansion of state government. A public debate ensued as to whether a new Capitol should be erected, although many had a sentimental attachment to the old building and its Federal architecture, which had seen so much history throughout the 19th Century. As a compromise, a new building, to house the State Library and the display of the Commonwealth’s cherished Civil War battle flags, was authorized to be built. It became a building which would set the Renaissance and NeoClassical Revival architectural theme not only for the old Capitol’s replacement after its destruction by fire in 1897, but for the entire Capitol Complex that would later evolve in the early 20th Century. What was originally known as the Executive, Library and Museum Building was designed by Philadelphia architect John T. Windrim completed in 1894 and is the oldest surviving structure in the Capitol Complex. Not only did the new structure house the library and museum rooms for Pennsylvania’s growing collection of artifacts and artworks, but also the offices of three Governors who served between 1894 and 1906. After that time, the present Capitol Building accommodated the office of the Governor as it does today. The building then became the Library and Museum Building, and upon completion of the current State Library in 1931, served as the Pennsylvania State Museum until the present Museum and State Archives complex was built in 1964. Restored in the mid 1990’s, the Old Museum Building, also known as the Capitol Annex, was renamed the Matthew J. Ryan (1932-2003) Legislative Office Building, in honor of the legislator who was the longest serving Speaker of the House in Pennsylvania history.
WALK DOWN THE HILL ONTO 3RD STREET AND TURN RIGHT, HEADING BACK TOWARDS THE FRONT OF THE CAPITOL BUILDING.
200 N 3rd Street
Fulton Bank has been in business since 1882; this Art Deco scraper a fixture in the Harrisburg skyline since the 1920s.
240 N 3rd Street
The economic prosperity enjoyed nationally throughout the 1920’s was clearly not lost upon Harrisburg’s downtown development. By the decade’s climatic conclusion there would rise a new generation of buildings in the city - those not traditionally located at the hub of Market Square nor on Market Street, but instead farther north commanding the view and sharing the prestige of Capitol Park and the Main Capitol Building. So it was that local developer Frank Payne and contractor Raymond Shoemaker built in 1929 the robust art deco-styled high-rise at Third and Pine Streets which became and still is today, a desirable address for lawyers and lobbyists. Designed by noted Harrisburgarchitect Clayton Lappley and logically dubbed the Payne-Shoemaker Building, the structure preceded what could be considered its sister building to the south, the 19-story, also art deco-styled, Harrisburger Hotel which was completed in 1930. These building were to Harrisburg as New york City’s Chrysler and Empire State Buildings were to Manhattan, all built at the same time during a period of frenzied development and standing as symbols to the economic exuberance at the end of the 1920’s. The Payne-Shoemaker/Harrisburger Hotel grouping is also important because it represents that period when Harrisburg’s skyline was dramatically pushed upward as necessitated by the rapid appreciation of its real estate, giving initial shape to the urbanized cityscape of today.
Pine Street Presbyterian Church
310 N 3rd Street
This church was designed in the English Gothic style in 1859. The building was renovated in 1926 when the roof was raised, creating a striking clerestory space. The vast sanctuary features richly carved woodwork, exposed beams and rafters, beautifully executed stained glass windows and fine acoustics.
YOU HAVE RETURNED TO YOUR TOUR STARTING POINT AT THE FOOT OF THE PENNSYLVANIA STATE CAPITOL BUILDING.