Harrisburg is more than a city – it’s an important and inseparable piece of Pennsylvanian and American history. Named the state capital in 1812, this riverside burg became a center of trade for ferry and rail, and was a major stopping point on the Underground Railroad for those on the way to Canada. The lifeblood of materials that made their way into the city supplied the machine shops, mills, and furnaces which fueled the Industrial Revolution in the latter half of the century.
By the 1860s, Harrisburg was home to a major training center for the Union Army during the Civil War at Camp Curtin. The areas immediately surrounding the city were part of the northern-most battles of the entire conflict, while the city itself moved critical supplies via rail line from the Atlantic Coast to the Midwest. Robert E. Lee’s army attempted no less than two campaigns to take the capital before being repelled back to Virginia. Tail between his legs, as it were.
Around the turn of the century, Harrisburg saw the burning and subsequent rebuilding of its Capitol Building, the rapid expansion of its park system, and the construction of the state’s first community college. The growth and modernization of its city center established the metropolitan area we see today, including the National Civil War Museum and Hilton Harrisonburg.