The Historic Harrisburg Association will be conducting a special bus tour of southern Dauphin County on Saturday, August 7th, that will showcase the colorful “painted ladies” of historic Shipoke, the multicultural tapestry of Steelton Borough, and historic Midland Cemetery.
One of Pennsylvania’s oldest African-American burial grounds, historic Midland Cemetery is located near Steelton. The cemetery is one of the final resting places of former slaves, Civil War U.S Colored Troops, “Buffalo Soldiers,” prominent “Negro League” baseball players, and generations of Harrisburg area business and community leaders.
The August 7 bus tour runs from 10:00 am to 3:00 pm. Participants will meet at the Capitol East Wing Fountain on Commonwealth Avenue, where introductory remarks will be given. (Free all-day curbside parking is available on Saturdays).
The first stop will be the “Old 8th Ward” and the new Commonwealth Monument commemorating the once-thriving African-American neighborhood that adjoined the State Capitol. Next will be the colorful and historic Shipoke neighborhood whose rebound from the devastating Agnes flood of 1972 sparked the historic preservation movement in Harrisburg.
A complimentary catered packaged lunch will be provided at the historic Lochiel Hotel on the old Pennsylvania Canal between Harrisburg and Steelton. The hotel’s history and the story of the famous 1905 Lochiel Train Wreck will be part of a lunchtime history presentation.
Historian Barbara Barksdale will be the tour guide as the bus continues south to Steelton, where steelmaking began in the United States shortly after the Civil War, bringing a rich international tapestry of ethnic cultures as European immigrants and former US southern slaves were attracted to jobs at what became one of America’s largest steel plants. The group will be welcomed by Steelton Mayor Marsinko. Steelton highlights include AME Zion Church, the site of the Hygienic School, and Kelker Street and the Kelker House, narrated by historian Norman Kelker.
At Midland Cemetery, Barbara Barksdale will provide a historical overview that includes an optional exploratory “find the graves” quiz. The final stop will be the historic Rutherford House in Paxtang, whose Underground Railroad heritage will be narrated by Norman Kelker. The bus will return to the Capitol Fountain at 3 PM
Tickets are $50 or $40 for Historic Harrisburg members.
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