“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)

Riverfront Park

Riverfront Park Marker image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, March 15, 2008
1. Riverfront Park Marker
Inscription.  Harrisburg's distinction of having one of the most beautiful inland waterfronts in America is attributed to the growth and conservation of Riverfront Park. Through the foresight of John Harris, Jr., the founder of Harrisburg, 6.2 linear acres along the Susquehanna River were set aside for boat landing purposes at the time the original borough was laid out in 1785. Four parks were created from this land during the 19th Century; Harris Park between Paxton and Mulberry Streets, Lincoln Park from Mulberry to Market Streets, Promenade Park from Market Street to beyond the original borough line at South Street to State Street, and D.W. Gross Park from the Old Waterworks through the annexed borough of 1838 to Herr Street. Above Herr Street, houses existed on the west side of Front Street, known as Hardscrabble, until the 1920's when they were removed for the Park's northward improvements in keeping with the city's growth. It was the civic practice during this period for Front Street landowners, who owned to the riverbank, to donate their river frontages to the City for the assemblage of the Park. Further improvements in the early 20th Century involved
Riverfront Park image. Click for full size.
By Beverly Pfingsten, March 15, 2008
2. Riverfront Park
Looking north from Market Street Bridge toward the People's Bridge at Walnut Street.
both beauty and utility. Under the direction of nationally-known public works consultant James Fuertes, who set forth a master public works plan as part of the City Beautiful Movement, the famous river steps were erected beginning in 1913 and ultimately would stretch as far north as Maclay Street and south to Shipoke. Under these steps was concealed the main city's sewage interceptor which discharges to this day waste to the city's sewerage treatment plant, a system far ahead of its time. It is the combination of these steps that define the river's edge, the high riverbank and the tree-lined park itself, graced by memorials, gardens and sculpture, that make Harrisburg's river presence so unique.
Top Photo
Circa 1908 postcard view of river activities at the Walnut Street Bridge prior to construction of concrete steps.
Middle Photo
River steps under construction in 1913 at Harris Park.
Bottom Photo
Hardscrabble at N. Front and Verbeke Streets prior to demolition for Sunken Gardens and Park extension.

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° 15.496′ N, 76° 
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52.998′ W. Marker is in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, in Dauphin County. Marker is at the intersection of N. Front Street and Market Street, on the right when traveling south on N. Front 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. Dauphin County Courthouse (a few steps from this marker); Camelback and Market Street Bridges (within shouting distance of this marker); Camel Back Bridge (within shouting distance of this marker); Dauphin County (within shouting distance of this marker); Governors’ Row (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Threatened Invasion of Harrisburg (about 400 feet away); The People’s Bridge (about 400 feet away); Walnut Street Bridge (about 400 feet away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Harrisburg.
Categories. Bridges & ViaductsGovernmentLandmarksMan-Made FeaturesNotable PlacesPolitical Subdivisions

More. Search the internet for Riverfront Park.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on March 19, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland. This page has been viewed 1,883 times since then and 15 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on March 19, 2008, by Bill Pfingsten of Bel Air, Maryland.
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