“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Harrisburg in Dauphin County, Pennsylvania — The American Northeast (Mid-Atlantic)

Federal Square

Federal Square Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
1. Federal Square Marker
Inscription.  One block northeast of Harrisburg's Market Square is located a place that became known by the end of the 19th century as Federal Square, the block bounded by N. Third, Locust, Court and Walnut Streets. Since 1877, this block has been the site of the U.S. Government's presence in Harrisburg. By act of Congress that year, funds were authorized for the construction of Harrisburg's first stand-alone and fully complemented post office facility. Earlier, Harrisburg's post offices had been located first in the residences of the Postmasters and then in a number of storefronts at numerous locations downtown. Even at that time, Harrisburg brought innovations in postal work including being the first city in the United States to have a letter carrier. Completed in 1882 at a cost of $401,000, the Renaissance Revival-styled new post office contributed to the city's collection of major public buildings including the Grand Opera House, the old Capitol Building, the 1850 Dauphin County Courthouse and the adjacent Dauphin County Prison, which faced Federal Square on Walnut Street. The Old Post Office was surrounded by grass lawns and open space, thus acquiring
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the "Square" distinction in contrast with the density of the surrounding urban setting. In time, additional federal offices would share the postal facility, including the U.S. Third Circuit Pennsylvania Middle District Court, which was created in 1901, and the Internal Revenue Service. Growth in the Federal system called for an addition to the Post Office in 1918, designed in the same architectural style, along Locust Street. By the mid 1960's, the building had become obsolete and consequently was replaced by the present 11-story structure with continued postal service operations as the Federal Square Station.
Top Photo
1929 view of the Old Post Office and Federal Square looking northwest.
Middle Photo
Circa 1882 view of the Old Post Office under construction looking west.
Bottom Photo
1958 view toward N. Third and Locust Streets of the Old Post Office showing the 1918 addition along Locust Street.

Erected by The Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Government & PoliticsNotable Buildings. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project, and the Postal Mail and Philately series lists. A significant historical year for this entry is 1877.
Federal Square image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
2. Federal Square
40° 15.701′ N, 76° 52.929′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is at the intersection of Third Street and Walnut Street on Third Street. Northeast corner of Third and Walnut. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Harrisburg PA 17101, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Capitol Park (here, next to this marker); Strawberry Square Phase I (a few steps from this marker); Grand Opera House (a few steps from this marker); John Harris' Gift (a few steps from this marker); Old Dauphin County Prison (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Old Dauphin County Courthouses (about 300 feet away); Mexican War Monument (about 400 feet away); 104th Cavalry (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harrisburg.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. It was originally submitted on March 27, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,522 times since then and 29 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 27, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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May. 19, 2024