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Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)
City Island
 
City Island Marker Photo, Click for full size
By William Pfingsten, April 12, 2008
1. City Island Marker
 
Inscription. 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 1880's, 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
 
Riverside Stadium in early morning fog. Photo, Click for full size
By William Pfingsten, April 12, 2008
2. Riverside Stadium in early morning fog.
 
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. By the mid-1980's, the Mayor's Parks Improvement Program brought back professional minor league baseball to Harrisburg with the construction of Riverside Stadium and other attractions including Riverside Village, Harbourtown, Skyline Sports Complex, Carriage House, Harrisburg Riverboat, miniature golf, three boat marinas, the City Island Railroad and twenty other facilities. City Island is home to the Harrisburg Senators, a AA baseball team and winner of numerous national and League titles, as well as home to the Central Pennsylvania Piranha, a multi-year champion of minor league professional football. Outdoor soccer, lacrosse, rugby, softball, volleyball and other sports, along with hundreds of events annually, are hosted on City Island.
Photos
 
One of the many recreation buildings with the railroad running alongside. Photo, Click for full size
By William Pfingsten, April 12, 2008
3. One of the many recreation buildings with the railroad running alongside.
 
- left to right
Circa 1910 postcard view of Harrisburg Athletics Baseball Stadium located where Riverside Stadium is today.
1932 aerial view of City Island looking south with old Filtration Plant in foreground; today's site of the Skyline Sports Complex.
1931 Veteran's jamboree encampment at City Island's southern end. note Market Street Bridge tollbooth at lower left.
Circa 1920 bathing scene at City Island's northern end.
Circa 1915 postcard view of City Island track meet just south of Market Street Bridge.

 
Erected by The Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project marker series.
 
Location. 40° 15.335′ N, 76° 53.279′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker can be reached from Walnut Street. Click for map. Near the west end of The People's Bridge. Marker is in this post office area: Harrisburg PA 17101, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Walnut Street Bridge (here, next to this marker); Harrisburg Giants (within shouting distance of this marker); The People’s Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named Walnut Street Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); a different marker also named The People’s Bridge (approx. 0.3 miles away); Riverfront Park (approx. 0.3 miles away); James McCormick Mansion (approx. 0.3 miles away); Dauphin County Courthouse (approx. 0.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Harrisburg.
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on April 14, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,523 times since then. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on April 14, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
 
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