“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)

Capitol Park

Capitol Park Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
1. Capitol Park Marker
Inscription.  The deliberations during the first decade of the 19th Century through which Harrisburg prevailed in achieving State Capital status were in part spawned by the donation by John Harris, Jr., in 1785, of four acres of the oldest portion of Capitol Park to the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when the plan for Harrisburg was laid out that year. Topographically, Capitol Park is still reminiscent of its early days as a knoll which at that time rose from the wheat fields and swampland of the Susquehanna lowlands later filled and graded for the development of the emerging borough. Over time, the Park was expanded northward to join the lands of William Maclay, Pennsylvania's first U.S. Senator, to assemble the larger Capitol Hill upon which both the old and present Capitols would rest. The Park was the site of the town's original armory, removed in 1873, around which Union Troops were camped during the Civil War when General Robert E. Lee's army threatened the invasion of Harrisburg in the summer of 1863. Later built was a magnificent glass arboretum that existed until 1918 when the Park was enlarged to the east as part of the expansion of the Capitol Complex
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under the plan of Arnold Brunner. The 105 foot-tall Mexican War Monument, presently the Park's centerpiece structure, was erected in 1868 to honor those Pennsylvanians who died in the Mexican War (1846-48) and was originally located on the site of the Old Executive, Library and Museum Building, now the Matthew Ryan Legislative Office Building. The monument was relocated to its present location in 1893 and in 2002 underwent a thorough restoration. The subsequent high-rise development of downtown Harrisburg facing Capitol Park gives further meaning to this historic land as a place of enduring tranquility.
Top Photo
1855 depiction of the old Capitol and Capitol Park showing the armory and surrounding grounds.
Middle Photo
1912 view of Capitol Park with formal gardens and arboretum.
Bottom Photo
Circa 1935 view of Capitol Park from Third and Walnut Streets.

Erected by The Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: Parks & Recreational AreasWar, Mexican-American. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1785.
Location. 40° 15.701′ N, 76° 52.929′ W. Marker
Part of Capitol Park from Third Street image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
2. Part of Capitol Park from Third Street
is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is at the intersection of Third Street and Walnut Street, on the left when traveling north 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. Federal Square (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 December 5, 2019. It was originally submitted on March 27, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,863 times since then and 20 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 27, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Apr. 25, 2024