The sprawling Italian Renaissance state capitol (completed 1906) has a 272-ft (83-m) dome modeled after St. Peter's in Rome. Other notable structures are the education building, which contains the state library; the State Museum of Pennsylvania; the National Civil War Museum; the William Penn Memorial Museum; the John Harris Mansion (1766), headquarters of the county historical society; and the Soldiers' and Sailors' Memorial Bridge. A medical center and the Pennsylvania State Univ. Center are in Harrisburg. The city has numerous parks. To the south is the large Three Mile Island facility, site of a nuclear accident in 1979. The New Cumberland Army Depot, the U.S. Army War College, and the U.S. Naval Supply Depot are also nearby.
The Harrisburg metropolitan area population was estimated in 2006 at 652,263,making it the fourth most populous metropolitan area in Pennsylvania, after Philadelphia, Pittsburgh and Allentown-Bethlehem-Easton (the Lehigh Valley). Harrisburg is the county seat of Dauphin County and lies on the east bank of the Susquehanna River, 105 miles (169 km) west-northwest of Philadelphia.
Harrisburg played a notable role in American history during the Westward Migration, the American Civil War, and the Industrial Revolution. During part of the 19th century, the building of the Pennsylvania Canal and later the Pennsylvania Railroad allowed Harrisburg to become one of the most industrialized cities in the Northeastern United States.
Contrasted with its 1981 status as the second most distressed city in the nation, Harrisburg has undergone a dramatic economic change, with nearly $3 billion in new investment now realized. The U.S. Navy ship USS Harrisburg, which served from 1918-19 at the end of World War I, is named in honor of the city.
The Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest indoor agriculture exposition in the United States, was first held in Harrisburg in 1917 and has been held there every January since then. Harrisburg also hosts the annual "Auto Show," a large static display of new as well as classic cars, which is renowned nation-wide. Harrisburg is also known for the infamous Three Mile Island incident, which occurred in nearby Middletown.
During the first part of the 19th century, Harrisburg was a notable stopping place along the Underground Railroad, as escaped slaves would be transported across the Susquehanna River and were often fed and given supplies before heading north towards Canada. The assembling here of the Harrisburg Convention in 1827 led to the passage of the high protective-tariff bill of 1828. In 1839, Harrison and Tyler were nominated for President of the United States at Harrisburg. By the 1830s Harrisburg was part of the Pennsylvania canal system and an important railroad center as well. Steel and iron became dominant industries. Steel and other industries continued to play a major role in the local economy throughout the latter part of the nineteenth century. The city was the center of enormous railroad traffic and supported large furnaces, rolling mills, and machine shops. The Pennsylvania Steel Company plant, which opened in nearby Steelton in 1866, was the first in the country; later operated by Bethlehem Steel.
During the American Civil War, Harrisburg was a significant training center for the Union Army, with tens of thousands of troops passing through Camp Curtin. It was also a major rail center for the Union and a vital link between the Atlantic coast and the Midwest, with several railroads running through the city and spanning the Susquehanna River. As a result of this importance, it was a target of General Robert E. Lee's Army of Northern Virginia during its two invasions. The first time during the 1862 Maryland Campaign, when Lee planned to capture the city after taking Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, but was prevented from doing so by the Battle of Antietam and his subsequent retreat back into Virginia. The second attempt was made during the Gettysburg Campaign in 1863 and was more substantial. A short skirmish took place in June 1863 at Sporting Hill, just 2 miles west of Harrisburg. This is considered by many to be the northern-most battle of the Civil War.
Many important events have helped to shape Harrisburg over the years. The Pennsylvania Farm Show, a the largest indoor agriculture exposition in the United States, was first held in 1917 and has been held every January since then. The present location of the Show is the Pennsylvania State Farm Show Arena, located at the corner of Maclay and Cameron streets. In June 1972, Harrisburg was hit by a major flood from the remnants of hurricane Agnes. On March 28, 1979, the Three Mile Island nuclear plant, along the Susquehanna River located south of Harrisburg, suffered a partial meltdown. Although the meltdown was contained and radiation leakages were minimal, there were still worries that an evacuation would be necessary. Governor Richard Thornburgh did recommend an evacuation of pregnant women and preschool children who lived within a five mile radius of TMI. Although there were about 5,000 people covered by this recommendation, over 140,000 people fled the area.
After Harrisburg suffered years of being in bad shape economically, Stephen R. Reed was elected mayor in 1981 and has been re-elected ever since, making him the longest serving mayor of Harrisburg. He immediately started projects which would attract both businesses and tourists. Several museums and hotels such as Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, the National Civil War Museum and the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers were built during his term, along with many office buildings and residences. Several semi-professional sports franchises, including the Harrisburg Senators of the Eastern League, the defunct Harrisburg Heat indoor soccer club and the Harrisburg City Islanders of the USL Second Division began operations in the city during his tenure as mayor. While praised for the vast number of economic improvements, Reed has also been criticized for population loss and mounting debt. For example, during a budget crisis the city was forced to sell $8 million worth of Western and American-Indian artifacts collected by Mayor Reed for a never-realized museum celebrating the American West.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 11.4 square miles (29.6 km²), of which, 8.1 square miles (21.0 km²) of it is land and 3.3 square miles (8.6 km²) of it (29.11%) is water.
Harrisburg is located in the Susquehanna Valley, a rich and fertile agricultural region in South Central Pennsylvania. The region is also situated at the extreme western fringe of the BosWash megalopolis, the name for a group of metropolitan areas in the northeastern United States. Directly to the north of Harrisburg lies the Blue Mountain ridge of the Appalachian Mountains. The Cumberland Valley lies directly to the west of Harrisburg and the Susquehanna River, stretching into northern Maryland.
Harrisburg's western boundary is formed by the Susquehanna River, which also serves as the boundary between Dauphin and Cumberland counties. The city is divided into numerous neighborhoods and districts. Like many of Pennsylvania's cities and boroughs that are at "build-out" stage, there are several townships outside of Harrisburg city limits that, although autonomous, use the name Harrisburg for postal and name-place designation. They include the townships of: Lower Paxton, Middle Paxton, Susquehanna, Swatara and West Hanover in Dauphin County. The borough of Penbrook, located just east of Reservoir Park, was previously known as East Harrisburg. Penbrook, along with the borough of Paxtang, also located just outside of the city limits, maintain Harrisburg zip codes as well. The United States Postal Service designates 26 zip codes for Harrisburg, including 13 for official use by federal and state government agencies.
Downtown Harrisburg has two major performance centers. The Whitaker Center for Science and the Arts, which was completed in 1999, is the first center of its type in the United States where education, science and the performing arts take place under one roof. The Forum, a 1,763-seat concert and lecture hall built in 1930-31, is a state-owned and operated facility located within the State Capitol Complex. Since 1931, The Forum has been home to the Harrisburg Symphony Orchestra.
Beginning in 2001, downtown Harrisburg saw a surge of commercial nightlife development. This has been credited with reversing the city's financial decline, and has made downtown Harrisburg a destination for events from jazz festivals to Top-40 nightclubs.
Harrisburg is also the home of the annual Pennsylvania Farm Show, the largest agricultural exhibition of its kind in the nation. Farmers from all over Pennsylvania come to show their animals and participate in competitions. Livestock are on display for people to interact with and view. In 2004, Harrisburg hosted CowParade, an international public art exhibit that has been featured in major cities all over the world. Fiberglass sculptures of cows are decorated by local artists, and distributed over the city centre, in public places such as train stations and parks. They often feature artwork and designs specific to local culture, as well as city life and other relevant themes.
There were 20,561 households out of which 28.5% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 23.4% were married couples living together, 24.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 46.9% were non-families. 39.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.32 and the average family size was 3.15.
In the city the population was spread out with 28.2% under the age of 18, 9.2% from 18 to 24, 31.0% from 25 to 44, 20.8% from 45 to 64, and 10.9% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 88.7 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 84.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $26,920, and the median income for a family was $29,556. Males had a median income of $27,670 versus $24,405 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,787. About 23.4% of families and 24.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 34.9% of those under age 18 and 16.6% of those age 65 or over.
The very first census taken in the United States occurred in 1790. At that time Harrisburg was a small, but substantial colonial town with a population of 875 residents. With the increase of the cities prominence as an industrial and transportation center, Harrisburg reached its peak population build up in 1950, topping out at nearly 90,000 residents. Since the 1950s, Harrisburg, along with other northeastern urban centers large and small, has experienced a declining population that is ultimately fueling the growth of its suburbs, although the decline - which was very rapid in the 1960s and 1970s - has slowed considerably since the 1980s. Unlike Western and Southern states, Pennsylvania maintains a complex system of municipalities and has very little legislation on either the annexation/expansion of cities or the consolidating of municipal entities.
Reversing fifty years of decline, 2007 Census Bureau estimates show that Harrisburg's population has actually grown. Between 2006 and 2007, Harrisburg gained 22 people.
|Callsign||MHz||Band||"Name" Format, Owner||City of license|
|WDCV||88.3||FM||Indie/College Rock, Dickinson College||Carlisle|
|WXPH||88.7||FM||WXPN relay, University of Pennsylvania||Harrisburg|
|WSYC||88.7||FM||Alternative, Shippensburg University||Shippensburg|
|WVMM||90.7||FM||Indie/College Rock, Messiah College||Grantham|
|WJAZ||91.7||FM||WRTI relay, Classical/Jazz, Temple University||Harrisburg|
|WWKL||92.1||FM||"Hot 92", Rhythmic/CHR||Palmyra|
|WLAN||96.9||FM||"FM 97" Top 40||Lancaster|
|WRVV||97.3||FM||"The River" Classic Hits and the Best of Today's Rock||Harrisburg|
|WYCR||98.5||FM||98.5 The Peak||York|
|WQLV||98.9||FM||"Love 99" Adult Contemporary||Millersburg|
|WROZ||101.3||FM||"The Rose" Adult Contemporary||Lancaster|
|WARM||103.3||FM||"Warm 103" Adult Contemporary||York|
|WNNK||104.1||FM||"Wink 104" Hot AC||Harrisburg|
|WQXA||105.7||FM||"105.7 The X" Hard Rock||York|
|WMHX||106.7||FM||"Mix" Adult Hits||Hershey|
This is a list of AM stations in the Harrisburg, Pennsylvania metropolitan area:
|Callsign||kHz||Band||Format||City of license|
|WHP (AM)||580||AM||Conservative News/Talk||Harrisburg|
|WWII (AM)||720||AM||Contemporary Christian||Shiremanstown|
|WTCY||1400||AM||Adult R&B: The Touch||Harrisburg|
|WTKT||1460||AM||sports: "The Ticket"||Harrisburg|
|Harrisburg Senators||EL, Baseball||Commerce Bank Park||1987||6|
|Harrisburg City Islanders||USL, Soccer||Skyline Sports Complex||2004||1|
|Harrisburg Stampede||AIFA, Indoor football||Pennsylvania Farm Show Complex & Expo Center||2009||0|
|Harrisburg Horizon||EBA, Basketball||Manny Weaver Gym||1998||5|
|Harrisburg Lunatics||PIHA, Inline hockey||Susquehanna Sports Center||2001||0|
Harrisburg has been served since 1970 by the “strong mayor” form of municipal government, with separate executive and legislative branches. The Mayor serves a four-year term with no term limits. As the full-time chief executive, the Mayor oversees the operation of 34 agencies, run by department and office heads, some of whom comprise the Mayor’s cabinet, including the Departments of Public Safety (police and fire bureaus), Public Works, Business Administration, Parks and Recreation, Incineration and Steam Generation, Building & Housing Development and Solicitor. The city has 721 employees (2003). The current mayor of Harrisburg is Stephen R. Reed (D), whose current term expires January 2010.
There are seven city council members, all elected at large, who serve part-time for four-year terms. There are two other elected city posts, City Treasurer and City Controller, who separately head their own fiscally related offices.
Dauphin County Government Complex, in downtown Harrisburg, serves the administrative functions of the county. The trial court of general jurisdiction for Harrisburg rests with the Court of Dauphin County and is largely funded and operated by county resources and employees.
Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex, dominates the city's stature as a regional and national hub for government and politics. All administrative functions of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania are located within the complex and at various nearby locations.
Commonwealth Judicial Center, houses Pennsylvania's three appellate courts, which are located in Harrisburg. The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania, which is the court of last resort in the state, regularly hears arguments at . The Superior Court of Pennsylvania and the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania are located here. Judges for these courts are elected at large.
Ronald Reagan Federal Building and Courthouse, located in downtown Harrisburg, serves as the regional administrative offices of the federal government. A branch of the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Pennsylvania is also located within the courthouse.
Harrisburg is also known world wide for its use of land value taxation. Harrisburg has taxed land at a rate six times that on improvements since 1975, and this policy has been credited by its long time mayor, Stephen R. Reed, as well as by the city's former city manager during the 1980s with reducing the number of vacant structures in downtown Harrisburg from about 4,200 in 1982 to less than 500.
Long-term plans for the region call for the commuter rail line to continue westward to Cumberland County, ending at Carlisle. In early 2005, the project hit a roadblock when the Cumberland County Commissioners opposed the plan to extend commuter rail to the West Shore. Due to lack of support from the county commissioners, the Cumberland County portion, and the two new stations in Harrisburg have been removed from the project. In the future, with support from Cumberland County, CorridorOne may extend to both shores of the Susquehanna River, where the majority of the commuting base for Harrisburg resides.
In 2006, a second phase of the rail project (named CorridorTwo) was announced to the general public. It will link downtown Harrisburg with its eastern suburbs in Dauphin and Lebanon counties (including Hummelstown, Hershey and Lebanon), and the city of York in York County. Future passenger rail corridors also include Route 15 from the Harrisburg area towards Gettysburg, as well as the Susquehanna River communities north of Harrisburg, and the Northern Susquehanna Valley region.
A charter/tour bus operator, R & J Transportation, also provides weekday, scheduled route commuter service for people working in downtown Harrisburg. R & J, which is based in Schuylkill County, operates two lines, one between Frackville and downtown Harrisburg and the other between Minersville, Pine Grove, and downtown Harrisburg.
Norfolk Southern acquired all of Conrail's lines in the Harrisburg area and has continued the city's function as a freight rail hub. Norfolk Southern considers Harrisburg one of the 3 primary hubs in its system, along with Chicago and Atlanta, and operates 2 intermodal (rail/truck transfer) yards in the immediate Harrisburg area. The Harrisburg Intermodal Yard (formerly called Lucknow Yard) is located in the north end of Harrisburg, approximately 3 miles north of downtown Harrisburg and the Harrisburg Transportation Center, while the Rutherford Intermodal Yard is located approximately 6 miles east of downtown Harrisburg in Swatara Township, Dauphin County. Norfolk Southern also operates a significant classification yard in the Harrisburg area, the Enola Yard, which is located across the Susquehanna River from Harrisburg in East Pennsboro Township, Cumberland County.
Intercity Passenger Rail
Amtrak provides service to and from Harrisburg. The passenger rail operator runs its Keystone and Pennsylvanian services between New York, Philadelphia, and the Harrisburg Transportation Center daily. The Pennsylvanian route, which operates once daily, continues west to Pittsburgh. As of April 2007, Amtrak operates 14 weekday roundtrips and 8 weekend roundtrips daily between Harrisburg, Lancaster, and Philadelphia 30th Street Station; most of these trains also travel to and from New York Penn Station. The Keystone Corridor between Harrisburg and Philadelphia was improved in the mid-2000s, with the primary improvements completed in late 2006. The improvements included upgrading the electrical catenary, installing continuously welded rail, and replacing existing wooden railroad ties with concrete ties. These improvements increased train speeds to 110 mph along the corridor and reduced the travel time between Harrisburg and Philadelphia to as little as 95 minutes. It also eliminated the need to change locomotives at 30th Street Station (from diesel to electric and vice-versa) for trains continuing to or coming from New York. As of Federal Fiscal Year 2006, the Harrisburg Transportation Center was the 2nd busiest Amtrak station in Pennsylvania and 24th busiest in the United States.
The city also maintains one public charter school, the Sylvan Heights Science Charter School In addition, Harrisburg is home to an arts-focused magnet school, the Capital Area School for the Arts. In 2003, SciTech High, a regional math and science magnet school affiliated with Harrisburg University, opened its doors to students. A growing number of virtual public charter schools provide residents with many alternative to the bricks and morter public school system.
The Central Dauphin School District, the largest public school district in the metropolitan area and the 13th largest in Pennsylvania, uses several Harrisburg postal addresses for many of the districts schools.