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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Historical Markers at Fort Hunter Mansion and Park

Fort Hunter Mansion and Park in Harrisburg Pennsylvania
Fort Hunter Mansion and Park is located on Front Street in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. It's a beautiful riverfront park that sits right along the Susquehanna River. Visiting the park is FREE. It's open daily, year-round. You'll find two large parking lots with regular and handicap parking spaces.

A few months ago we visited Fort Hunter Mansion and Park and blogged extensively about our visit. You can find our original Fort Hunter Mansion and Park feature right here on our blog. It's one of the nicest, family-friendly parks that you can visit in the Harrisburg metro area.

Today's post is all about the Historical Markers that we located while on a recent visit to the park. For the past few years we've been documenting the historical markers that we find while traveling, especially when we travel around Pennsylvania. These markers are a great source of information about our past. They're often over-looked and ignored by those who pass them by.
Fort Hunter Historical Marker in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Historical Marker: Fort Hunter

Stockaded blockhouse, built 1755-56, on site of present Fort Hunter Museum. Used to protect the frontier and as a supply base in building Fort Augusta. Abandoned and fell into ruins after 1763.

We found this marker right near the main entrance that leads to the parking lot in from of Fort Hunter Mansion.
Simon Girty Historical Marker in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Historical Marker: Simon Girty (1741–1818).

Frontiersman known as the “Great Renegade” was born nearby. Captured by Indians, 1756, he lived among the Senecas and learned their language and culture. Following his release, he became an interpreter for the American army; deserted in 1778. Afterwards he led British and Native American war parties against frontier settlements. Hostile to the U.S. in War of 1812. Regarded as a loyalists by some and a “white savage” by others, he remains controversial. He died in Canada.

This historical marker is located in Fort Hunter Park and not far from the first one.
Rockville Bridge Historical Marker in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

Historical Marker: Rockville Bridge

The longest stone masonry arch railroad bridge in the world, visible to the south, was built between 1900 and 1902. Named for the surrounding small settlement, it has forty-eight arches and a length of 3,820 feet. It is the third bridge constructed here by the Pennsylvania Railroad. A wooden structure had been built 1847 through 1849, followed by an iron bridge in 1877.

This historical marker is also located on the park grounds. You'll want to walk along the Susquehanna River towards the bridge and you'll see the marker on the right side.

We drive by the Fort Hunter Mansion and Park and often times we see artistic painters out on the ground of the park with easels painting the Rockville Bridge. It's one of the most famous stone bridges in the world. You can get some great views of the bridge from both sides of the Susquehanna River if you would like to photograph it. The picture above was taken while standing in Fort Hunter Mansion and Park.
Slavery at Fort Hunter Historical Marker in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The Slavery at Fort Hunter Historical Marker states the following information:

From 1786 to the early 1830s, over twenty enslaved people lived and worked at Fort Hunter. Their parents and ancestors had been stolen from Africa. The McAllister family, who created all of Fort Hunter’s earliest surviving buildings, was one of the largest slave owners in Dauphin County. Along with free laborers, Blacks worked on the Fort Hunter plantation-farming, cooking, and running the dairy. Among them were at least two families, the Craigs and the Jenkins. At that time Fort Hunter included a farm, a tavern, a distillery and a mill.

Sall Craig fled from Fort Hunter bondage in 1828 when she was about 60. Although owned by the McAllisters since she was a girl, they had planned to sell her because of financial reversals. The sales advertisement described her as “strong and active of her age…an excellent washer, baker and cook and understands the management of a dairy and soap boiling.” By then small communities of free Blacks had formed in nearby Harrisburg and Halifax. Perhaps they provided aid and refuge to Sall, but nothing more is known of her story.
United States Slavery Historical Marker at Fort Hunter in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

The United States Slavery Historical Marker at Fort Hunter states the following:

At the birth of the United States in the 1770s, slavery was firmly embedded in its fabric. Blacks stolen from Africa were shipped to America as part of a lucrative trade system. Most enslaved people lived in the South, but about 10% lived in the North. By 1810 the population of free Blacks in the North had risen greatly because of the spread of abolitionist ideology.

After 1810 the use of the cotton gin made cotton a lucrative Southern crop. This dramatically increased the need for enslaved labor. By the time of the Civil War in the 1860s, slavery had polarized the nation into free and slave states. The struggle over slavery, especially its expansion into more western territories, was the fuel that ignited the Civil War. By its outbreak in 1861, 4,000,000 enslaved people toiled in the United States. The Proclamation of Emancipation, issued by Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, played a key role in ending slavery nationwide.

Pennsylvania Railroad Caboose Train Car at Rockville Bridge in Harrisburg Pennsylvania

We enjoy hunting down historical markers and documenting the ones that we see. We'll often take photographs of them, document their locations and once we're back home...we'll do some research on the marker to learn more about it. It's a great way to learn about new or often forgotten history. You can find more documented historical markers on our BLOG and over on our PINTEREST board.

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