“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)

The Harrisburg Cotton Factory and The Central YMCA

The Harrisburg Cotton Factory and The Central YMCA Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
1. The Harrisburg Cotton Factory and The Central YMCA Marker
Inscription.  Founded in 1844 in London, England, by George Williams, the Young Men's Christian Association quickly grew in the United States with Harrisburg, in 1854, being one of the first eight cities in the nation to establish a chapter. Located at various sites in the downtown during the last half of the 19th Century, the YMCA erected its first headquarters building in 1902 at the southwest corner of Second and Locust Streets. By 1931, the "Y" had outgrown that building and a year later completed the present magnificently appointed structure at N. Front and North Streets on what had been the site of the Harrisburg Cotton Factory. erected in 1850, the factory was Harrisburg's first industry that was modeled after the textile plants of New England and was established to help enhance the city's industrial base by providing work for women and children so as to maximize the earning power of Harrisburg families. With the supply of cotton cut off from the South during the Civil War, the factory temporarily served as a wartime hospital and by the 1880's, as a silk mill until its demise in the late 1920's. Designed by the Harrisburg architectural firm of Lawrie
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and Green, the replacement structure serving as the YMCA building is truly an impressive edifice of the Italian Romanesque style, incorporating elements from various baptisteries, cathedrals and churches in northern Italy. It was the YMCA's mission to have its buildings emulate sacred architecture to reflect the Christian principals of the organization. Highlighted with decorative stonework and terracotta trim, the "Y" headquarters continues to serve the community in the development of mind, body and spirit.
Top Photo
19th Century view of the Harrisburg Cotton Factory's North Street facade.
Bottom Photo
1920 view of the old Harrisburg Cotton Factory, by then the Harrisburg Silk Mill, looking northeast at Front and North 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: ArchitectureIndustry & CommerceSports. In addition, it is included in the Pennsylvania, The Harrisburg History Project series list. A significant historical year for this entry is 1844.
Location. 40° 15.823′ N, 76° 53.33′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is at the intersection of North Street and Buttonwood Street, on the right when
Harrisburg YMCA image. Click for full size.
Photographed By William Pfingsten, March 21, 2008
2. Harrisburg YMCA
traveling east on North Street. 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. The Civic Club of Harrisburg (within shouting distance of this marker); Hope Fire Station (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Genevieve Blatt (1913 - 1996) (about 400 feet away); The Old Waterworks (about 400 feet away); The John Crain Kunkel and Katherine Smoot Kunkel Memorial (about 500 feet away); Parish Church of St. Lawrence (Former) (about 500 feet away); St. Michael’s Lutheran Church (about 500 feet away); J. Donald Cameron (about 600 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 29, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 3,067 times since then and 308 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 29, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.

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Dec. 9, 2023