Promoting historic preservation, urban revitalization & smart growth since 1973

The Historic Harrisburg Association (HHA) is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit charitable and educational organization that advocates for the restoration, preservation, and proper stewardship of historic neighborhoods and landmarks throughout the Capital Region to enable current and future generations to retain and celebrate Harrisburg’s rich history. HHA collaborates with civic organizations, neighborhood groups, and government agencies to fulfill its mission to “promote historic preservation, urban revitalization, and smart growth.” HHA achieves its mission through:

Historic Harrisburg Resource Center

1. Advocacy

HHA engages constituencies to advocate for the importance of historic preservation as a key mechanism for urban revitalization, economic development, neighborhood improvement, and tourism enhancement.

2. Education

HHA offers multi-faceted education and outreach programs that include free and low-cost lectures, seminars, workshops, guided walking tours and informational exhibits.

3. Preservation

HHA works closely with the City of Harrisburg and its citizens, property owners, and neighborhood groups to ensure that Harrisburg’s historic districts and architectural landmarks are preserved in keeping with Federal and municipal guidelines.

4. Service

HHA operates the Historic Harrisburg Resource Center to support the needs of the Association and the surrounding community, serving as a central location to coordinate and deliver mission-oriented services.

History

HHA was established in 1973 in response to two major events:

  1. The devastating effects to the Capital Region following the unprecedented flooding from Hurricane Agnes; and
  2. The demolition of Harrisburg’s spectacular State Theatre.

The aftermath of these events revealed the lack of knowledge and appreciation of the cultural, economic, and historical importance of local communities and landmarks, prompting the formation of HHA to serve as the voice of historic preservation moving forward. More than 40 years later, HHA continues to serve as the voice of historic preservation, contributing to the vitality of the Capital Region. 

The following milestones stand out in HHA’s history:

2020
2020

HHA worked to save the Hickok Mansion & Locust Street Townhouses

HHA worked to save the Hickok Mansion & Locust Street Townhouses
Historic Harrisburg Association worked closely with PA Housing Finance Agency (PHFA) to find an appropriate way to build an addition to their headquarters on Front Street that did not sacrifice historic buildings.  The resulting preservation earned PHFA a 2019 Preservation Award
2019
2019

HHA Advocates for Historic Harrisburg Churches

HHA Advocates for Historic Harrisburg Churches
In 2019, when it was decided at the United Methodist Church Conference that ten historic churches would be consolidated and sold, Historic Harrisburg Association advocated to keep several churches open, provided a meeting space for the congregations and other concerned community members and promoted appropriate adaptive reuse as a means..Read More
2007
2007

HHA Objected to a (never-built) High-rise Hotel on State Street

HHA Objected to a (never-built) High-rise Hotel on State Street
Historic Harrisburg Association objected to a never-built High-rise hotel on State Street deemed both an inappropriate use of the site and three times the allowable height for that location. The 5-story mid-rise erected instead won HHA’s praise for its design and scale.
2004
2004

HHA Rallied Against the Demolition of Front Street Mansions

HHA Rallied Against the Demolition of Front Street Mansions
Historic Harrisburg Association helped organize the  “Save our Mansions” coalition seeking to prevent the demolition of several landmark mansions on the 2900 block of North Front Street.  All three were since saved and restored for residential use. Two have won preservation awards
1996
1996

The Community Historic Preservation Fund is Established

The Community Historic Preservation Fund is Established
The demolition of the Senate Hotel in 1995 served as the catalyst in establishing the Community Historic Preservation Fund – a permanent financial resource to assist HHA in historic preservation projects
1993
1993

The Central Trust Building was gifted to HHA

The Central Trust Building was gifted to HHA
In celebration of it’s 20th Anniversary, Historic Harrisburg Association was given the century-old Central Trust Building in Midtown to ensure its preservation as an architectural landmark and community resource.
1992
1992

First Elegant Progressions

Elegant Progressions event was established in conjunction with the Kindney Foundation of Central PA for the purpose “of restoring and staining lives in our community and the life of our community.”
1990
1990

Olde Uptown added to the National Register Historic District

Olde Uptown added to the National Register Historic District
HHA assisted to nominate the Old Uptown National Register Historic District in 1990
1986
1986

HHA Preservation Awards were established

Historic Harrisburg Association created the Preservation Awards to give recognition to the individuals, organizations, businesses, properties, landmarks and other entities for significant historic preservation achievements
1985
1985

Mount Pleasant Historic District is Added to the National Registry

HHA Supported Nominating the Mount Pleasant National Register Historic District in 1985
1985

Old Fox Ridge becomes Nationally Registered Historic District

Old Fox Ridge becomes Nationally Registered Historic District
HHA Lobbied to include Old Fox Ridge as a municipal historic district in 1983 and as a Federally certified historic district in 1985
1983
1983

Midtown & Old Downtown become Nationally Registered Historic District

Midtown & Old Downtown become Nationally Registered Historic District
The Midtown Historic District and the Old Downtown Commercial District becomes National Registered Historic District in 1983
1978
1978

HHA Rehabbed Shipoke House

HHA Rehabbed Shipoke House
HHA Purchased Flood-Ravaged 112 Conoy Street in Shipoke in 1978 from the Harrisburg Redevelopment Authority and Rehabbed it for Sale in an early effort to start a “revolving fund” to restore historic properties.
1978

Telegraph Building Demolished

Telegraph Building Demolished
The Telegraph Building –212 Locust Street Demolished 1978
1977
1977

HHA Helps Prevent Demolition of Four Townhouses

HHA Helps Prevent Demolition of Four Townhouses
HHA helped to block demolition of four townhouses, SE Corner of N. 2ndand Forster Streets, for a BP Oil Gas Station in 1977. Upheld by Dauphin County Court.
1977

HHA lobbies Against Demolition of the Tracy Mansion

HHA lobbies Against Demolition of the Tracy Mansion
The Historic Harrisburg Association successfully lobbied against the post-flood demolition of the Char-Tracy Mansion in 1977
1976
1976

Early Advocacy to Save Buildings

Early Advocacy to Save Buildings
HHA successfully Lobbied to keep 125 & 127 Pine Street from being demolished after a lengthy court battle in 1976
1976

Passage of US Tax Reform Act of 1976

Passage of US Tax Reform Act of 1976 Enables Tax Credits for Historic Preservation.
1975
1975

Shipoke 1st Nationally Registered Historic District

Shipoke 1st Nationally Registered Historic District
Historic Harrisburg Association’s early priority supported creating the first National Register Historic Districts in Shipokeand the Capitol Area in 1975. Municipal Districts were created a year earlier.
1974
1974

Midtown Municipal Historic District Established

Midtown Municipal Historic District Established
HHA Lobbied for the creation of the Midtown Municipal Historic District in 1974
1974

First Municipal Historic District

First Municipal Historic District is established in Harrisburg.
1973
1973

First Candlelight House Tour

First Candlelight House Tour is held, Sunday, Dec. 9, 1973, a tradition that has continued on the second Sunday in December ever since and has become the oldest and largest tour of its kind attracting over 1,200 people a year to Harrisburg’s historic structures
1973

Demolition of Penn-Harris Hotel

Demolition of Penn-Harris Hotel
Demolition of Penn-Harris Hotel signifies “bottoming out” of Downtown.
1972
1972

Hurricane Agnes of 1972

Hurricane Agnes of 1972
Flooding from Hurricane Agnes led to the demolition of the following properties: E.J. StackpoleResidence –1825 N. Front Street I.H. DoutrichResidence –Front and KelkerStreets

Become a member today

Membership unlocks the buildings, people, and stories of the past, through our events and educational series, while simultaneously supporting our charitable mission of historic preservation.

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A Tribute to Calobe Jackson, Jr. will be live streamed on our website on September 20, 2020.More Information
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