All Sources -
Updated Media sources (1) About encyclopedia.com content Print Topic Share Topic
views updated

Harrisburg: Recreation


Harrisburg can be conveniently divided into five districts for sightseeing purposes: Center City, the Shipoke Historic District, the Capitol district and complex, Old Uptown Historic District, and Allison Hill.

Highlights of Center City, where most historic buildings were spared in rebuilding, include Riverfront Park, a scenic five-mile stretch that features a sunken flower garden, and City Hall, where sightseeing brochures can be obtained and perused at an outdoor plaza bedecked with sculptural works.

In the Front Street area of Center City, Governor's Row preserves several townhouses that housed early state chief executives. Also of interest are the art-deco Dauphin County Courthouse and a number of nineteenth-century churches.

The Shipoke Historic District, a late nineteenth-century residential area overlooking the Susquehanna River, contains the John Harris/Simon Cameron Mansion as well as restored townhouses interspersed with modern dwellings.

The Capitol district and complex contains the Capitol Building, an Italian Renaissance structure covering two acres and surrounded by a 13-acre park. Considered by many to be the finest such structure in the country, the Capitol Building features a dome modeled after St. Peter's basilica in Rome and stairs patterned after those at the Grand Opera in Paris. Also located in the district are the State Museum of Pennsylvania, with exhibits relating to the state's history from earth's beginning to the present time, and the beautiful churches and mansions preserved on State and Front streets.

The Old Uptown Historic District encompasses the Historic Midtown District. Highlights there include late nineteenth-and early twentieth-century residences of various architectural styles and, a short distance away, Italian Lake, created from a swamp in the 1930s and spanned by a picturesque Italian Bridge. Contained in the baroque park setting is the Obelisk, a memorial to Dauphin County's Civil War soldiers.

Allison Hill is the name used for the portion of the city that rises above the Susquehanna Valley. In the area are found the Mount Pleasant Historic District (Allison Hill's oldest section); Bellevue Park, an early planned residential community laid out in 1910; and McFarland House, an Italianate residence built in 1876 and later home to J. Horace McFarland, horticulturist, environmentalist, and publisher. State Street East is a grand boulevard that descends from Allison Hill to the Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Bridge and State Capitol Complex.

Of special interest to children are the Museum of Scientific Discovery (on the third level of the Strawberry Square Mall) with a variety of exhibits on subjects such as aviation, Earth and space, and biology along with the Fire Museum of Greater Harrisburg, Indian Echo Caverns in Hummelstown, and Hersheypark in Hershey. Known as the most beautiful "company town" in the country, Hershey is the headquarters of Hershey Foods Corporation and was conceived as a story-book-like town for company employees. Sights there include Chocolate World, Hersheypark, Zooamerica, Hershey Gardens, and the Hershey Museum. The Hessian Powder Magazine Museum of Carlisle describes the contributions of Hessian soldiers to the American Revolution.

Arts and Culture

A major venue for the performing arts in Harrisburg is the 1,763-seat State Forum, an art-deco edifice located in the state government built in 1931. There the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra, founded in 1930, presents seven classical and three pops series, three outdoor summer concerts, and special concerts and guest artists. Market Square Concerts brings national and international performing artists to Harrisburg between September and May with most concerts held in the Market Square Presbyterian Church. Central Pennsylvania Friends of Jazz sponsors several performances at varied locations. Rounding out the musical offerings are performances by the Harrisburg Opera Association, the Harrisburg Singers, Chamber Singers of Harrisburg, Harrisburg Choral Society, and the Susquehanna Folk Music Society.

Theatre Harrisburg, formerly known as Harrisburg Community Theatre and founded in 1926, has its own playhouse and stages full-scale productions. Rose Lehrman Arts Center at Harrisburg Area Community College holds concerts and theatrical events and is home to Open Stage of Harrisburg, which presents works reflecting the area's multicultural population. One of the Central Pennsylvania Youth Ballet studios resides in Harrisburg while a lively network of local theater groups, historical societies, literary and music clubs, and art associations complete the city's rich cultural landscape.

The Art Association of Harrisburg (AAH) offers 10 annual exhibitions of works in all styles and mediums by artists from around the world. In Reservoir Park is a restored 1898 mansion that contains an art gallery as well as the National Civil War Museum at Harrisburg, the nation's largest Civil War museum, with artifacts and collections from both the Union and the Confederacy. One of the world's largest paintings, "The Battle of Gettysburg: Pickett's Charge," is displayed at the State Museum of Pennsylvania, home to an extensive collection of state historical documents and artifacts. Other museums in Harrisburg are John Harris/Simon Cameron Mansion, home of the Dauphin County Historical Society and its collections and library; and Fort Hunter Mansion and Park.

Festivals and Holidays

Harrisburg proper is the site of the well-attended Greater Harrisburg ArtsFest at Riverfront Park in May; the Central Pennsylvania Commerce Bank Jazz Festival and Harrisburg Shakespeare Festival in June; American MusicFest at Riverfront Park for the Fourth of July and Pennsylvania Pump Primers Muster in mid-July; and the Dauphin County 4-H Fair in August and the official Labor Day celebration, known as Kipona Festival, at Riverfront Park. The Harrisburg Holiday Parade opens the holiday season, and a New Year's Eve Celebration is held on Market Square. In addition, many arts and crafts fairs with juried exhibitions and ethnic festivals are held throughout the region.

The Pennsylvania State Farm Show Complex, a 25-acre exposition hall that is one of the largest of its kind in the country, hosts the Pennsylvania Farm Show and Pennsylvania Auto & Boat Show in January, the Eastern Sports & Outdoor Show in February, Annual Spring Craft Show in March, the Pennsylvania Relief Sale of Mennonite crafts in early April, the Eastern National Antique Show in late April, the RV and Camping Show in mid-September, the All-American Dairy Show in late September, the Pennsylvania State 4-H Horse Show in October, and the Pennsylvania and Gift Show in early December.

Sports for the Spectator

City Island, in the Susquehanna River, contains Commerce Bank Park, home of Harrisburg's Eastern League Class Double-A minor league baseball team the Senators (affiliated in 2005 with Major League Baseball's Washington Nationals), whose season extends from April to Labor Day. Spectators gather downtown each June for the Faulkner Honda Harrisburg Criterium international cycling event.

Hersheypark Arena is home to the Hershey Bears, an American Hockey (AHL) team that entertains fans from October through April. The arena also hosts the Ice Capades and the Harlem Globetrotters. Hershey Country Club is home to the Reese's Cup Classic in May, although this was cancelled in 2005 due to ongoing renovations at the club. Sprint-car racing goes on at area tracks, and Penn National Race Course in Grantville offers the opportunity for betting on thoroughbred horses.

Sports for the Participant

Harrisburg's Department of Parks and Recreation maintains a network of 17 recreational sites, 27 parks and playgrounds, two pools, and tennis courts. The city's recreational showpiece is City Island, located in the Susquehanna River only 400 yards from downtown. In addition to the usual park facilities, the Island offers riding stables, miniature golf, swimming, jogging and nature trails, volleyball courts, multipurpose playing fields, and much more. Recreational facilities are also available at Italian Lake Park, Reservoir Park, and Riverfront Park. Wildwood Park, a wildlife haven, has bike and hiking trails and picnic areas. Harrisburg sponsors the Harrisburg Marathon & Relay and other running events throughout the year. Fifteen public and private golf courses are located in the region. Fishing on the Susquehanna River is a popular pastime, and islands in the river may be explored by boat or canoe. Nearby Carlisle boasts the best fly-fishing streams in the East while Ski Roundtop has facilities for the winter (skiing and snowboarding) and summer (rock climbing and paintball) sports enthusiast.

Recreation Information: Department of Parks and Recreation, City of Harrisburg, 10 N 2nd St., Ste. 401, Harrisburg, PA 17101; telephone (717)255-3020; fax (717)255-6554

Shopping and Dining

Downtown shopping in Harrisburg centers around the Shops at Strawberry Square, two floors of enclosed shopping located in a huge office complex. More than 40 shops and galleries along with 10 food emporiums are contained in about 170,000 square feet of retail space. Harrisburg East Mall is the city's other main shopping area, a 90-store complex anchored by Hecht's, Bass Pro Shops, and Boscov's. Specialty stores can also be found at adjacent Walnut Place and along a number of streets in Center City. Broad Street Farmers Market, dating back to 1860, offers fresh produce Thursday through Saturday. It is located in the Historic Midtown Market District, a neighborhood shopping area that also features antique and art shops. Harrisburg is a major East Coast outlet shopping centerbus charters bring in thousands of shoppers annually.

Downtown dining opportunities have expanded to accommodate increased tourism and convention business. Cuisine ranges from Philadelphia steaks to seafood. One local establishment, The Fire House at Hope Station, is located on the first floor of an 1871 firehouse.

Visitor Information: Harrisburg-Hershey-Carlisle Tourism and Convention Bureau, 415 Market St., Rm. 208, Harrisburg, PA 17101; telephone (717)231-7788; toll-free (800)955-0969

views updated

Harrisburg: Economy

Major Industries and Commercial Activity

Harrisburg is the metropolitan center for some 400 communities. Its economy and more than 6,900 businesses are diversified with a large representation of service-related industries (especially health) and growing technological industry to accompany the dominant government field inherent to being the state's capital. National firms either headquartered in the region or with major operations there include Tyco Electronics Corp. (components), IBM, Hershey Foods, Harsco Corp., and Rite Aid Corp. (retailers). The largest employer, state government, provides stability to the economy and attracts attendant services. Excellent roads and rail transportation contribute to the city's prominence as a center for trade, warehousing, and distribution.

Items and goods produced: shoes, books, computer products, food products, textiles, apparel, leather goods, machinery, railway equipment

Incentive ProgramsNew and Existing Companies

Local programs

The Mayor's Office of Economic Development (MOED), created in 1983, supports new and expanding businesses in site selection and securing financing. The city also offers tax abatement on new investment, lower property tax millage on improvements, below-market-rate financial assistance, investment tax credits, and more. The MOED directs business and industrial development programs, including the Division of Contract Compliance and Minority and Female Business Enterprises which offers certification programs, financial counseling, and bid assistance. City incentives designed to increase residential sales in Harrisburg include the Mortgage Tax Credit Certification Program, real estate tax abatements, special financing, and investment tax credits, among others.

The Harrisburg Regional Chamber, through the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC), is an active association offering a variety of services to enhance business growth, including lobbying at all levels of government, sponsoring an annual business fair, offering financing programs including small business loans, and providing training programs.

State programs

The state of Pennsylvania provides about 100 programs for new and existing businesses that are searchable at the Pennsylvania Department of Community & Economic Development's (dubbed NewPA) website, which works with new and existing companies and community leaders to foster development and growth for businesses and neighborhoods. Ben Franklin Technology Partners operates four centers throughout the state with Harrisburg and Dauphin County under the central and northern district that provides assistance to entrepreneurs via investments, information, and solutions. The Team Pennsylvania Foundation (more commonly referred to as Team PA) was founded in 1997 to bolster the state's business environment by collaborating the efforts of business and government leaders to feed into the creation of initiatives and programs.

Job training programs

The most widely used state and federal programs to help employers reduce the costs of hiring and training workers include the federal 1998 Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Customized Job Training (CJT) funded by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and maintained by the Pennsylvania Workforce Development department, Work Opportunity Tax Credit (WOTC) Program, and a state-tax-credit Employment Incentive Payment (EIP) Program. Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC) offers customized training programs for business and industry and in 2001 opened a new Technology Training Center. Shippensburg University, accredited by the American Assembly of Collegiate Schools of Business, offers custom-tailored programs through its Frehn Center for Management. The Mayor's Office of Economic Development (MOED) also helps in identifying training programs for local businesses.

Development Projects

Harrisburg claims national recognition for its strong economy and high quality of life. City planners continue to follow a comprehensive land use plan titled "Forum 2000" that covers a wide array of different elements of the community including downtown, commercial, and neighborhood development along with recreational opportunities, transportation resources, and parking availability.

In its recent history, Harrisburg has witnessed the opening of the $52.7 million Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts in 1999 and the $10 million conversion of a Ramada Inn in 2000 to the Crowne Plaza Harrisburg hotel and conference center. In the planning stages is the "Entertainment Crossroads" that will encompass several streets and blend existing and new entertainment and nightlife amenities into various corridors and bolster the availability of hospitality and commercial services. The future creation of "Neighborhood Service Centers" will allow residents nearby availability of convenience shopping, personal and business services, professional services, and recreational centers which will recreate an old-time, small-town feel.

Economic Development Information: City of Harrisburg, Mayor's Office of Economic Development, City Government Center, 10 N. 2nd St., Ste. 405, Harrisburg, PA 17101; telephone (717)255-3027; fax (717)255-6432; email [email protected] Harrisburg Regional Chamber, 3211 N. Front St., Ste. 201, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1342; telephone (717)232-4099; fax (717)232-5184

Commercial Shipping

Located midway between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh, Harrisburg grew up from its earliest days as a transportation center and has long been an important freight center. All major air, rail, and highway arteries linking the markets of the East, Midwest, and South pass through the region. There are eight public airports in the region, the largest being Harrisburg International Airport (HIA), a modern facility where twice the national average of freight and mail (in excess of 61,000 tons annually) are handled by five air freight forwarders. The Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA) and the city are in the process of establishing HIA as a Foreign Trade Zone (FTZ), which would facilitate in the delivery of local goods to the international market. Several major interstate and U.S. highways connect the region to major metropolitan areas, and local roads are well maintained. Norfolk Southern operates two intermodal freight facilities within the city, which also opened up the rail for freight service between Canada and the Gulf of Mexico.

Labor Force and Employment Outlook

The Capital Region boasts a growing pool of talented, productive, and educated workers. While the city's population decreased by more than six percent, the metropolitan area's population increased seven percent between 19902000. Wages paid in the region are reported to be competitive. The state provides resources to area residents through its Pennsylvania Workforce Development department as does the Capital Region Economic Development Corporation (CREDC).

The following is a summary of data regarding the Harrisburg-Carlisle metropolitan area labor force, 2004 annual averages.

Size of nonagricultural labor force: 323,000

Number of workers employed in . . .

construction and mining: 12,100

manufacturing: 25,500

trade, transportation, and utilities: 69,100

information: 6,400

financial activities: 24,800

professional and business services: 35,200

educational and health services: 42,900

leisure and hospitality: 26,900

other services: 17,200

government: 63,000

Average hourly earnings of workers employed in manufacturing: $15.15

Unemployment rate: 3.6% (April 2005)

Largest employers (Harrisburg metropolitan statistical area) Number of employees
Commonwealth of Pennsylvania 31,200
U.S. Government 11,600
Hershey Food Corp. 5,600
Highmark Blue Shield 5,600
Tyco Electronics Corp. 5,332
Hershey Medical Center 4,251
PinnacleHealth 3,587
EDS Corp. 2,708
Rite Aid Corp. 2,375
County of Dauphin 2,175

Cost of Living

The following is a summary of data regarding several key cost of living factors for the Harrisburg area.

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Average Home Price: $240,280

2004 (3rd Quarter) ACCRA Cost of Living Index: 98 (U.S. average = 100.0)

State income tax rate: 3.07%

State sales tax rate: 6%

Local income tax rate: none

Local sales tax rate: none

Property tax rate: in the two-rate system, 24.414 mills on land; 4.069 mills on building and improvements

Economic Information: Capital Region Economic Development Corporation, 3211 N. Front St., Ste. 201, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1342; telephone (717)232-4099; fax (717)232-5184

views updated

Harrisburg: History

Susquehanna River a Crossing for Indians, Europeans

Native Americans occupied what is now Harrisburg as early as 5,000 years ago. The first European contact with Native Americans in Pennsylvania was made by the Englishman, Captain John Smith, who journeyed from Virginia up the Susquehanna River in 1608 and visited with the Susquehanna tribe. The Shawnees, a nomadic tribe, and members of the Algonquin nation came to the Susquehanna Valley from the southwest in the 1690s. The Swedes and the French used the Susquehanna River as a route during their explorations of the Middle Atlantic Region but did not settle there. The Englishman, John Harris, was the first white man to appreciate the region's strategic location. He established a trading post at the site in about 1710 and began ferry service in 1733. After Harris' death in 1748, his son, John, continued his father's liberal policies with the natives so there was considerable settlement of the region by the time of the French and Indian Wars of 175358.

Thousands of German settlers were attracted by the rich farmlands, and their industriousness contributed to the region's prosperity. The iron industry became so important that workers were forbidden to leave work to join the militia during the American Revolution unless they had special permission. Following the Revolution, the Pennsylvania state assembly created Dauphin County out of a portion of Lancaster County and directed the establishment of a county seat near Harris's Ferry. They temporarily named the county seat Louisburg in honor of the French king who had been so helpful during the Revolution. But John Harris refused to sell the land for the county seat under these terms, and it was agreed that the new name would be Harrisburg, in honor of his father.

City Becomes State Capital, Transportation Hub

Harrisburg's location on major east-west routes and the importance of the Susquehanna River as a gateway north and south quickly established the city as a business center. At the same time, there was growing sentiment in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania against what were seen as the aristocratic goals of the Federalists in Philadelphia, capital of the United States from 1790 to 1800. When it came time to select a state capital, the choice of Harrisburg became official in 1812.

Stagecoach lines from Philadelphia had reached Harrisburg by 1776. By the 1830s Harrisburg was part of the Pennsylvania canal system and an important railroad center as well. Steel and iron became dominant industries. To the original German settlers were added people from the rest of the nation and immigrants from throughout the Old World, especially Scots-Irish, Welsh, French, and Huguenots. Because farming was still the predominant industry, Harrisburg did not develop in the arts, music, and science as did Philadelphiathe lack of leisure time and concentration of population hindered that development. Settlers in Harrisburg and environs did bring with them aspects of European culture that flourished, including the fashioning of pottery, furniture, glass works, and pewterware, and the use of brass instruments.

Harrisburg's population had grown to more than 13,000 people by 1860, when it was incorporated as a city. Its industrial power played a decisive role in the Civil War, and it also served as a Union Army training center. Harrisburg was the target of a Confederate Army invasion in 1863, but General Robert E. Lee stopped his troops a few miles from the city and ordered them to proceed to nearby Gettysburg, where the battle ensued that was to be the turning point of the Civil War.

Prosperity, Building, Culture Distinguish City

Steel and other industries continued to play a major role in the local economy throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century. The city was the center of enormous railroad traffic and supported large furnaces, rolling mills, and machine shops. The Pennsylvania Steel Company plant, which opened in nearby Steelton in 1866, was the first in the country; it is now operated by Bethlehem Steel. Harrisburg Car Manufacturing Company began as a railroad car manufacturer in 1853; in 1935 the firm changed its name to Harrisburg Steel Company then in 1956 to Harsco, a diversified Fortune 500 company. Many fine schools and churches were built; banks and other institutions were founded. Stately residences were erected overlooking the Susquehanna River. The first three decades of the twentieth century saw the building of high-rise department stores and opulent hotels. A $12.5-million expansion of the state capitol complex was completed in 1906, and many cultural institutions were founded.

Decline Followed by Rebirth

As was the case throughout the industrialized Northeast, Harrisburg began to decline after World War II as residents moved to the suburbs. The decline continued into the early 1980s, when Harrisburg was regarded as one of the most distressed cities in the country. The area's economic troubles were heavily influenced by the nuclear accident at the nearby Three Mile Island power plant in 1979 that resulted in mass evacuations and a loss of billions of dollars. Small amounts of radiation entered the atmosphere, though no deaths were ever attributed to the partial meltdown.

A revitalization spurred by business and industrial development led to residential restoration and new building. During the period 19822003, over $3.4 billion in new investment was undertaken in Harrisburg, one of the highest investment rates in the country for a city its size. After 30 years of suburban flight, the city realized its first net population gain in 1995 as thousands of new residents joined a burgeoning "back-to-the-city" movement. Although the population declined by the 2000 Census, Harrisburg, which remains an important transportation hub for every mode of travel, is enthusiastic about its prospects as a rejuvenated city in a stunning natural setting on the Susquehanna River with its abundance of beautiful isles.

Harrisburg boasts a pro-business, reform mayor in Stephen R. Reed, whose initiatives since he took office in 1982 related to economic development, creation of non-tax revenue sources, and the improvement of the operations of local government that have helped to turn around a city that at the start of the 1980s was considered the second most distressed in the nation under the Federal distress criteria. In the period from 1981 to 2003, the city experienced a crime rate reduction of 56.5 percent while the fire rate fell by 76.3 percent. This change put the city in the eleventh spot for "Best Crime Rate in the Nation" on Forbes 2004 Rankings for Performance list. Central business district revitalization has resulted in nearly 9.2 million gross square feet of developed business land in the downtown, or Center City area, figures that led to Inc. magazine's ranking Harrisburg eighteenth on its March 2004 "Top 25 for Doing Business in America" for mediumsized cities.

This growth contributed to a record number of 6,951 businesses in 2005 for the city. According to Mayor Reed, "The City of Harrisburg has become an example of urban resurgence at a time when many of America's cities continue to undergo further decline and serious economic stress. Harris-burg's renewal has been multi-faceted, touching virtually every area of city governmental and community endeavor."

Historical Information: Dauphin County Historical Society, 219 S. Front St., Harrisburg, PA 17104; telephone (717)233-3462; fax (717)233-6059; email [email protected] Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, State Museum Bldg., 300 North St., Harrisburg, PA 17120; telephone (717)787-3362

views updated

Harrisburg: Education and Research

Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Harrisburg Public Schools offer special programs in remedial and special education and for the gifted and handicapped along with courses toward English as a second language. A collaborative high school with the Harrisburg University of Science and Technology focuses on math and science studies; there is one vocational-technical school. The district is operated by an unpaid five-member board that is appointed by the mayor.

The following is a summary of data regarding the Harrisburg public schools as of the 20032004 school year.

Total enrollment: 7,663

Number of facilities

elementary/middle schools: 12

high schools: 1

other: 1 alternative school

Student/teacher ratio: 13:1

Teacher salaries

average: $49,123

Funding per pupil: $10,754

Private school education is offered at seven parochial institutions and at Harrisburg Academy, as well as a number of other secular institutions.

Public Schools Information: Harrisburg School District, 2101 N Front St., Bldg. 2, Harrisburg, PA 17110-1081; telephone (717)703-4000. Pennsylvania Department of Education, Division of Data Services, 333 Market St., Harrisburg, PA 17126-0333; telephone (717)787-2644; fax (717)787-3148; email [email protected]

Colleges and Universities

Ten colleges, five community/junior colleges, and three graduate schools are located in the Harrisburg area. Among these are branches of three major universitiesPenn State, Temple University, and Widener University. Institutions located in the city limits are Harrisburg Area Community College (HACC), founded in 1964 and the state's first community college, offering more than 100 associate degrees, certificates, and diploma programs; Penn State's Downtown and Eastgate Centers; Temple University at Harrisburg; Dixon University Center at Harrisburg, part of the State System of Higher Education and offering graduate degrees in Business Administration, Library Studies, Public Administration, and Safety Science; and the Pittsburgh-based Computer Tech. Penn State's College of Medicine at Hershey offers graduate programs for doctors, nurses, and medical researchers. Carlisle is home to the Army War College and Penn State's Dickinson School of Law. Shippensburg University specializes in business; its campus looks out on the Blue Mountains.

Libraries and Research Centers

The Dauphin County Library System, founded in 1889, is headquartered in downtown Harrisburg on Walnut Street and also maintains a facility in Colonial Park (East Shore Area Library) along with six additional branches located throughout the region. The system holds more than 321,000 items including periodical subscriptions, tapes, videos, and maps. Special collections focus on local history and grants-manship. Internet access is available at all locations.

The State Library of Pennsylvania serves the reference needs of state government and acts as the regional library resource center for public, college, and special libraries. It holds about one million general interest volumes along with 6,500 serials and maintains special genealogy, periodical, and law libraries. At the State Archives, created in 1903, are government and private papers relating to Pennsylvania history that includes 195 million pages of documents and manuscripts, 20,000 reels of microfilm, and one million special collection items. Also located in Harrisburg are the collections of many libraries of state agencies, available for use by researchers and others through special arrangement. Rare medical books are housed at George T. Harrell Library at Pennsylvania State University College of Medicine at nearby Hershey. The Alexander Family Library, part of the Dauphin County Historical Society, features genealogy and local history resources.

Government-related research centers in Harrisburg include the Legislative Office for Research Liaison (LORL), which coordinates the research needs of legislators using the capabilities of academic researchers. Pennsylvania Family Institute studies family issues as they relate to government policy.

Milton S. Hershey Medical Center conducts AIDS and cancer research, as well as an artificial heart research project, biostatistics, and epidemiology. Hershey Foods Corp. maintains an Information Analysis Center.

Public Library Information: Dauphin County Library System, 101 Walnut St., Harrisburg, PA 17101; telephone (717)234-4961; fax (717)234-7479; email [email protected]

views updated


HARRISBURG , capital city of Pennsylvania. Of a total population of 251,798 in Harrisburg City (48,950) and the surrounding Dauphin County, there were an estimated 5,164 Jews (according to a 1994 demographic survey). Cumberland County, across the Susquehanna River, had an estimated 1,821 Jews out of a population of 213,674. The first Jewish settlers in Harrisburg were immigrants from Germany and England; they arrived in the 1840s and assembled regularly for Sabbath and holiday services under the leadership of Lazarus Bernhard. In 1853, this group drew up the constitution for the first synagogue, Ohev Sholom, which was Orthodox until 1867, when it adopted Reform. Rabbi Philip David Bookstaber, spiritual head of the congregation from 1924 to 1962, was a leader of the Boy Scouts of America. Other congregations that formed since then were Chisuk Emuna (1884), now Traditional Conservative; Cong. Kesher Israel (1902), the leading Orthodox institution in central Pennsylvania; Temple Beth El (1926), egalitarian Conservative; and Machzike Hadas (1904), now known as Chabad-Lubavitch (ḥasidic). Other area synagogues include B'nai Jacob Synagogue, Conservative (on the National Registry of Historic Places), founded in 1906 in nearby Middletown (Dauphin County); Cong. Beth Shalom (1970), Reconstructionist, in Mechanicsburg; and Cong. Beth Tikvah, egalitarian, Carlisle, both in Cumberland County. Eliezer *Silver, who served as rabbi of Kesher Israel from 1907 to 1925, founded many of the community's services, including the Harrisburg Hebrew School, a talmud torah; the Hebrew Free Loan Society; and the Transient Home. Yeshiva Academy, providing secular and Jewish education to children from preschool through eighth grade, was one of the first Jewish day schools in the country outside a major metropolitan area. It was established (and renamed for) Rabbi David L. Silver, rabbi of Kesher Israel, and Aaron S. Feinerman. The Jewish Community Center was founded in 1915 as a ymha, by Leon Lowengard; its name was changed in 1941, and it has occupied its current building since 1956. The Jewish Federation of Greater Harrisburg was formed in 2002 through the consolidation of the United Jewish Community (founded in 1933) and the Jewish Community Center. The Federation serves as the central fund-raising agency, speaks officially for the community on both Jewish matters and Jewish-gentile community relations, promotes the quality and values of Jewish life, and publishes the biweekly newspaper Community Review. Agencies supported by the Federation include the Jewish Family Service, the Jewish Group Home (for the developmentally disabled), the Jewish Home, and The Residence, a senior living community on the campus of the Home. David Silver, rabbi of Kesher Israel from 1932 to 1983, was the driving force (with Horace Goldberger) of the Jewish Home. In addition to afternoon schools at a few area congregations, the Federation sponsors the Harrisburg Hebrew High School for public school students. The Harrisburg Jewish community had the highest per capita donation in the country to the uja emergency fund during Israel's Six-Day War. For decades its leading philanthropist was businesswoman Mary Sachs, known as the "Merchant Princess." The late David Javitch founded the Giant Food Stores chain with one meat market in Carlisle in 1923; in 1968 his son Lee (now retired) took over as president of the chain, now a part of Ahold U.S.A. Companies.

Other community leaders have included Albert Hursh (d. 2004), who served the jcc and Federation professionally for eight decades; Rite Aid Corporation founder Alex Grass, who has served as chair of the Board of Governors of the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, member of the board of United Jewish Appeal, and member and past chair of the Board of Governors of the Jewish Agency for Israel; and Lois Lehrman Grass, philanthropist and patron of the arts.

Until the 1940s most Jews were engaged in the merchandising of food, clothing, and furniture; the scrap business; and peddling. In the 1960s, many were engaged in manufacturing clothing, food distribution, retail merchandising, the professions, and state government positions. In 1958 attorney Gilbert Nurick was the first Jew to head the State Bar Association. The first community college in the state, Harrisburg Area Community College, was established mainly because of the efforts of Bruce E. Cooper, chairman of its board. In 1969, William Lipsitt became the first Jewish judge of a county court. By the 1990s, most Jews were found in the professions and state government positions.

[Barbara Trainin Blank (2nd ed.)]

views updated

Harrisburg: Communications

Newspapers and Magazines

Harrisburg's daily newspaper, The Patriot-News, has a daily morning edition; Patriot-News Company also publishes the Sunday Patriot-News and a weekly tabloid examining area business, arts, and entertainment. Another daily, the Press and Journal, is published in Middletown. Other newspapers published in Harrisburg are The Catholic Witness and Community Affairs. Journals published there include The New Social Worker (by White Hat Communications), The PBA Quarterly, and Pennsylvania Heritage (by the Pennsylvania Heritage Society). Many other magazines are published in Harrisburg, including Country Journal and several magazines focusing on sports and hobbies, law and medicine.

Television and Radio

Harrisburg receives two major network affiliates and public television; cable service is available. A Harrisburg educational television station presents Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series as well as programs of local interest, especially those relating to issues arising at the state capital. Four AM and six FM radio stations broadcast from Harrisburg, which also receives stations from Philadelphia, Lancaster, and York.

Media Information: Patriot-News Company, 812 Market St., Harrisburg, PA 17101; telephone (717)255-8100; toll-free (800)692-7207

Harrisburg Online

Capital Region Economic Development Corporation. Available www.harrisburgregionalchamber.org

City of Harrisburg. Available www.harrisburgpa.gov.

Dauphin County Historical Society. Available www.dauphincountyhistoricalsociety.org

Dauphin County Public Library. Available www.dcls.org

Harrisburg-Hershey-Carlisle Tourism & Convention Bureau. Available www.visithhc.com/capcity.shtml

Harrisburg Regional Chamber. Available www.harrisburgregionalchamber.org

Harrisburg School District. Available www.hbgsd.k12.pa.us

Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission. Available www.phmc.state.pa.us

PinnacleHealth System. Available www.pinnaclehealth.org

Selected Bibliography

Del Tredici, Robert, The People of Three Mile Island: Interviews and Photos (San Francisco: Sierra Club Books, 1980)

Eggert, Gerald E. Harrisburg Industrializes: The Coming of Factories to an American Community (Pennsylvania State University Press, 1993)

Seitz, Blair (photographer) and John Hope, ed.. Harrisburg: Renaissance of a Capital City (Rb Books, 2000)

views updated

Harrisburg: Population Profile

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 556,000

1990: 587,986

2000: 629,401

Percent change 19902000: 7%

U.S. rank in 1980: 62nd

U.S. rank in 1990: 67th

U.S. rank in 2000: 66th

City Residents

1980: 53,264

1990: 52,376

2000: 48,950

2003 estimate: 48,322

Percent change, 19902000: -6.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 447th

U.S. rank in 1990: 473rd

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported (State rank: 17th)

Density: 6,035.6 people per square mile (2000)

Racial and ethnic characteristics (2000)

White: 15,527

Black or African American: 26,841

American Indian and Alaska Native: 183

Asian: 1,384

Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander: 35

Hispanic or Latino (may be of any race): 5,724

Other: 3,199

Percent of residents born in state: 68.3% (2000)

Age characteristics (2000)

Population under 5 years old: 3,968

Population 5 to 9 years old: 4,158

Population 10 to 14 years old: 3,794

Population 15 to 19 years old: 3,139

Population 20 to 24 years old: 3,228

Population 25 to 34 years old: 7,593

Population 35 to 44 years old: 7,561

Population 45 to 54 years old: 6,459

Population 55 to 59 years old: 2,140

Population 60 to 64 years old: 1,590

Population 65 to 74 years old: 2,807

Population 75 to 84 years old: 1,808

Population 85 years and over: 705

Median age: 33.0 years (2000)

Births (2002)

Total number: 849

Deaths (2003)

Total number: 565 (of which, 11 were infants under the age of 1 year)

Money income (1999)

Per capita income: $15,787

Median household income: $26,920

Total households: 20,613

Number of households with income of . . .

less than $10,000: 3,786

$10,000 to $14,999: 2,054

$15,000 to $24,999: 3,790

$25,000 to $34,999: 3,215

$35,000 to $49,999: 3,151

$50,000 to $74,999: 2,691

$75,000 to $99,999: 1,045

$100,000 to $149,999: 581

$150,000 to $199,999: 145

$200,000 or more: 155

Percent of families below poverty level: 23.4% (53.4% of which were female householder families with related children under 5 years)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,928

views updated


Harrisburg: Introduction
Harrisburg: Geography and Climate
Harrisburg: History
Harrisburg: Population Profile
Harrisburg: Municipal Government
Harrisburg: Economy
Harrisburg: Education and Research
Harrisburg: Health Care
Harrisburg: Recreation
Harrisburg: Convention Facilities
Harrisburg: Transportation
Harrisburg: Communications

The City in Brief

Founded: 1791 (incorporated as city, 1860)

Head Official: Mayor Stephen R. Reed (D) (since 1982)

City Population

1980: 53,264

1990: 52,376

2000: 48,950

2003 estimate: 48,322

Percent change, 19902000: -6.5%

U.S. rank in 1980: 447th

U.S. rank in 1990: 473rd

U.S. rank in 2000: Not reported (State rank: 17th)

Metropolitan Area Population

1980: 556,000

1990: 587,986

2000: 629,401

Percent change, 19902000: 7%

U.S. rank in 1980: 62nd

U.S. rank in 1990: 67th

U.S. rank in 2000: 66th

Area: 11.44 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 100 to 358 feet above sea level

Average Annual Temperature: 52.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 40.5 inches of rain; 34.3 inches of snow

Major Economic Sectors: Manufacturing, services, retail trade, state government

Unemployment Rate: 3.6% (April 2005)

Per Capita Income: $15,787 (1999)

2002 FBI Crime Index Total: 2,928

Major Colleges and Universities: Harrisburg Area Community College, Penn State Downtown Center, Penn State Eastgate Center, Temple University at Harrisburg, Dixon University Center at Harrisburg

Daily Newspaper: The Patriot-News

views updated

Harrisburg: Transportation

Approaching the City

Harrisburg International Airport (HIA), eight miles south of Center City, offers 7 major airlines to 13 domestic stops along with one international destination as well as short-hop commuter service. Services at HIA, operating under the Susquehanna Area Regional Airport Authority (SARAA), continue to expand to accommodate increasing traffic (about 750,000 enplanements per year). Also under SARAA's ownership is the Capital City Airport, which is available for charters and business and pleasure craft. Philadelphia International Airport, 100 miles from Harrisburg, may be the most convenient destination for visitors flying in from distant locations.

Harrisburg is easily accessible by car. Interstate highways 76 (Pennsylvania Turnpike), 78, 81, and 83 cross in the region and connect it to major metropolitan areas. Other major highways are U.S. 11, 15, 22, 322, and 422.

Amtrak's main east-west line carries passengers into the restored Harrisburg Transportation Center (formerly the 1884 Pennsylvania Railroad Station) on 16 daily departures. The center is a hub for a planned light-rail, commuter transit system and a cross-state high-speed rail line. The Southeastern Pennsylvania Transportation Authority (SEPTA) provides commuter and high-speed rail service out of Philadelphia. Bus lines carrying passengers into the region from other locales include Greyhound, Fullington Trailways, and Capitol Trailways. Capital Area Transit provides local bus service.

Traveling in the City

Harrisburg's downtown Center City comprises the original 80-acre borough laid out in a grid pattern by John Harris in 1785. East-west streets are named and north-south streets are numbered. Market Street, running east-west, is the dividing point between north and south street designations. Sightseeing is probably best done on foot downtown and by car or bicycle elsewhere. The Capitol Area Transit (CAT) maintains 67 buses for 26 regular routes along with four express routes for 2.1 million annual riders.

views updated

Harrisburg: Geography and Climate

Harrisburg is located on the eastern bank of the Susquehanna River, 100 miles west of Philadelphia, at a gap in the Blue Mountains between the Cumberland and Lebanon valleys created by the river. The terrain is rolling, with a band of flat land in the southern part of Dauphin County ranging up to a mile wide along the Susquehanna River. The region is underlain by limestone which, combined with the gently rolling terrain, creates an ideal farming environment.

Harrisburg's climate is humid continental; there are four distinct but mild seasons. Summers are warm to occasionally hot with relatively high humidity; winters are comparatively mild for the region's latitude.

Area: 11.44 square miles (2000)

Elevation: Ranges from 100 to 358 feet above sea level

Average Temperatures: January, 28.6° F; July, 73.5° F; average annual temperature, 52.9° F

Average Annual Precipitation: 40.5 inches of rain; 34.3 inches of snow