If you’re considering moving to the Central Pennsylvania area, you might not be familiar with the rich culture and history that Harrisburg has to offer through its prominent landmarks. While driving or walking along the Susquehanna River, you’ll find traditional, Renaissance-Revival and modern buildings that all encompass the Harrisburgian style. Explore some of the interesting buildings in Harrisburg to become familiar with your new home.
In downtown Harrisburg, South Front Street along the Susquehanna River is home to the John Harris Mansion, also called the Simon Cameron House, both names reflecting the two most famous residents. Built in 1766, this dwelling is one of the oldest buildings in Harrisburg. Over the years, it has gone through some renovations and repairs to preserve its historic charm.
In the early 1940s, the Historical Society of Dauphin County received this Georgian-style estate as a gift, including the interior furnishings and antiques. During the summer, it’s open for the general public to view. When you walk through the luxurious mansion, the floral wallpaper, gold light fixtures and decorative rug motifs will make you feel like royalty.
This historic theatre is next to the Pennsylvania State Liberty in the Capitol complex. The Forum Auditorium was dedicated in 1931, and it remains open for concerts and shows throughout the year. The building exterior contains gray limestone, with 22 bronze doors that include cast figures and inscriptions of famous mottos from our nation’s past. The ornate cornices and copper owls on the eaves of the exterior provide a stunning aesthetic.
The interior features eight types of marble from Vermont, Africa, Tennessee, Belgium, Italy and Germany. The mural on the walls depicts the journey of humanity and the overwhelming majesty of the heavens. The ceiling features depictions of constellations to create a fantastic design.
The historic Pennsylvania State Capitol Building in Capitol Park at the city’s center is Harrisburg’s architectural focal point. After the original structure burned in a fire in 1897, the replacement’s design turned out to be unimpressive compared to the first one. As a result, architects created an ornate, upgraded third building. Its elegance reflects Harrisburg’s distinguished style.
The current building was inspired by Beaux-Arts and Renaissance-Revival influences. Outside, you will find bold stone columns and an eye-catching dome, with a statue at the very top. You can also take a thirty-minute tour of the Capitol building and explore the hundreds of rooms inside, including the Senate Chamber.
As you walk up North 3rd Street after exploring the State Capitol Building, you may want to check out the Statue Museum of Pennsylvania. This historic, dome-like structure provides a vast glimpse into Harrisburg’s entire history, starting with the prehistoric age.
Aside from the museum, you can also explore the large multi-media planetarium. The museum features exhibits for people of all ages to enjoy. Before you book your visit, call the office to find out when they’re open and how you can explore this unique attraction.
5. St. Patrick Cathedral
As a central component of the Roman Catholic community here in Harrisburg, the St. Patrick Cathedral is near Capitol Park on State Street. This building was constructed in 1907, and in 1976, it became part of the Harrisburg Historic District.
The church’s Romanesque architecture includes two identical bell towers with crucifixes on top. As you walk inside the ornate, historic building, you can admire the stained-glass windows that display a story of their own. The church offers daily masses for those who practice the Roman Catholic faith, but admission is free if you want to tour the church during the week.
For a stunning view of the Susquehanna River, take a walk up the Harvey Taylor Bridge that starts at Forster Street. Its name comes from a local Republican politician, Maris Harvey Taylor. The bridge opened in 1952, but between 2001 and 2004, a construction team widened the bridge to permit pedestrian access.
This steel structure runs along the Susquehanna River between Independence Island and City Island. Tens of thousands of vehicles cross this bridge every day, making it a main river crossing in Pennsylvania.
Go for a walk around North Front Street in downtown Harrisburg and find Fort Hunter Mansion and Park, previously called the Archibald McAllister House, and enjoy some fantastic views of the Susquehanna River. The mansion was built in 1814 and became part of the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. When you visit for a tour, you’ll walk through a grand entrance with Tuscan-style square columns holding up a large balcony with balusters.
If you come here to explore the whole property, you’re going to need to block out a couple of hours to make sure you see everything. The park is open all day from morning until dusk, but the mansion is only available to see during select months.
Visit Uptown Harrisburg to explore the Dauphin County Veteran’s Memorial Obelisk. In the 1860s, this monument was built in a park on North Second Street to pay respect to the local soldiers who sacrificed their lives during the American Civil War. The town relocated it to its current spot in the 1960s, where it was renovated and repaired.
The Obelisk, measuring more than 100 feet in height, is made of stone from the banks of the Susquehanna River. It features Egyptian influences, such as the use of stone and the pyramid-like design on top of the structure.
After visiting the Obelisk, take a trip through Dauphin Narrows to the replica of the Statue of Liberty. It stands on an old railroad bridge pier in the Susquehanna River. A local activist and artist built this structure in 1986, but it suffered in a storm several years later, so they built it taller and more durable than the first design.
This structure is a replica of the famous moment in New York, but it’s much smaller than the original. Explore the Statue any day of the week for free by paddling near it on a kayak or admiring it from a nearby location on land.
The Dauphin County Courthouse is not too far from the Statue of Liberty. This structure from 1792 features white marble, square columns and a modern classic style that contrasts most of the Romanesque or Renaissance-Revival architecture popular in Harrisburg. You may not be able to take a tour inside the building. However, you can admire the symmetrical architecture outside, including a crest on the top of the façade. The spacious courtyard gives you a place to rest your legs after walking around town.
If you enjoy the architecture Harrisburg has to offer, consider making this exciting city your home. Explore our rental communities in the Central Pennsylvania area to find one that gives you a front-row seat to all these charming attractions. For more information about moving into your new place, reach out to us online or call 1-877-TCC-HOME.