DescriptionAround 1710 John Harris established a trading post in the area that is now Harrisburg; in 1733 he obtained a grant of 800 acres of land. His son, John Harris Jr., the founder of Harrisburg, and William Maclay, Pennsylvania's first U.S. senator, laid out the town in 1785, including four acres in what now is Capitol Park with hopes of it becoming the commonwealth's capital.
Incorporated as a borough in 1791, Harrisburg officially replaced Lancaster as the state capital in 1812. Today's Capitol Complex includes the ornate Capitol Building, The State Museum of Pennsylvania, plazas and fountains, and landscaped areas open to the public. An early residence, the 1766 John Harris/Simon Cameron Mansion, was built by the city's founder and later expanded in 1863 by Simon Cameron, a former U.S. senator and President Lincoln's first secretary of war. Mansion tours are available Tues.-Sat. and the second and fourth Sun. of each month. The house also includes a library with documents relating to local history and genealogical information; phone (717) 233-3462.
Paxton Presbyterian Church , at Paxtang Boulevard and Sharon Street, is one of the oldest Presbyterian churches still in use in the United States. The present structure dates from 1740. In the sanctuary are the baptismal font and pulpit light holder that have been in use for more than 200 years. The archives contain a pewter communion set that was used as early as 1734.
The adjacent cemetery, which dates from the early 1700s, contains the graves of John Harris Jr.; Rev. John Elder, the fighting parson of the Revolution; and William Maclay. A brochure describing a self-guiding tour of the graveyard is available.
City Island is in the middle of the Susquehanna River across from downtown. Owned by the city and operated by its Parks and Recreation Department, this setting offers nature trails, a swimming beach and a playground. Also in the park are commercial amusement and recreational facilities. The Harrisburg Senators, a AA league baseball team affiliated with the Washington Nationals, play here at FNB Field; phone (717) 231-4444. Events also take place on the island.
The Capital Area Greenbelt, a 20-mile parkway used for bicycling, jogging, walking and nature studies, loops around the city and passes through many scenic parks. Reservoir Park, 22nd and Market streets, has art galleries, gardens, plazas, fountains, playgrounds, basketball courts and other facilities. Riverfront Park, along a 5-mile stretch of scenic waterfront, features sunken gardens, public art and various memorials. Other recreational facilities are in Italian Lake Park, 3rd and Division streets. Phone (717) 255-3020 for more information.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center covers 14 acres at N. Cameron and Maclay streets; phone (717) 787-5373. Among the many events held here are the Pennsylvania Farm Show and Pennsylvania Auto Show in January, the Great American Outdoor Show in February, and the Pennsylvania National Horse Show in October.
Center City, City Island and City-Wide Sites brochures are available free by contacting the Mayor's Office, 10 N. 2nd St., Harrisburg, PA 17101; phone (717) 255-3040.
Visitor InfoHershey Harrisburg Regional Visitors Bureau 3211 North Front Street Ste. 301-A HARRISBURG, PA 17101. Phone:(717)231-7788 or (877)727-8573
ShoppingTwo major malls are Colonial Park, US 22 and Colonial Road, and Harrisburg at I-83 and Paxton Street. The former has more than 70 stores, including The Bon-Ton, Boscov's and Sears; the latter offers more than 90 stores, including Macy's. Nearby Camp Hill has Capital City at the Highland Park exit off US 15, featuring JCPenney, Macy's and Sears.
The historic Broad Street Market is open Thurs.-Fri. 7-6 and Sat. 7-4. This farmers market, which sells fresh produce, meat, poultry, confections and food, has been operating since 1860 and is housed in two buildings dating from 1863 and 1874. The market is one-half mile north of the Capitol Complex, at 1233 N. 3rd St.; phone (717) 236-7923.
Things to SeeArt Association of Harrisburg