Harrisburg, PA Day 3 Capitol

July 25, 2023 We made plans last night to wash the bus this morning before it got too hot. We had rain overnight and clouds this morning which was perfect for washing the bus. Bob did the washing and I did the drying and we were done in about an hour, except for the front. It started to sprinkle a little as we were finishing, so we decided to save the front for tomorrow. Teamwork always makes the plan work in no time at all. On his morning walk with Auggie, Bob found a new item for my Jeep collection. It’s not a duck, but it was added to the collection just the same.

We went inside to clean up and wait for the rain to stop. Part two of today’s plan was to drive into downtown Harrisburg to see the sights. When I was in 5th grade, our teacher made us memorize all the state capitals which I did, but I don’t remember Harrisburg as being the capital of Pennsylvania.

First on the list of things to see was the Riverfront Park and Susquehanna River Viewing Area. Riverfront Park stretches 3.5 miles along the Susquehanna River. We parked in the parking garage across the street from the park. It has a nice, shaded walking/biking path that provides a great view of the camel-back bridges named because of its unique arch design. Painted on the bridge abutments are white arrows telling you which span to pass under.

There is an island in the middle of this section of the river called City Island. City Island is one of 11 original public playground parks. There is not a driving bridge to get to City Island from this side of the river, but there is a beautiful pedestrian bridge provided to walk across to the island. I could see myself walking across this bridge every day with beautiful views of the river for a little bit of exercise. There is a road from the other side of the river, so you can drive out to the island from there.

On the island, you will find a marina, athletic fields, picnic grounds, walking and biking paths, and gardens.

From City Island, you can also ride a steam train and take a dinner cruise or launch a kayak. Dinner cruises are done on the Pride of the Susquehanna.

This wooden carved sculpture honors the ideals and goals of the Susquehanna River School sharing the teaching of history and nature to a new generation. The Susquehannocks were the last Native Americans to live along the Susquehanna River and its tributaries.

Across from the park on Front Street is Governor’s Row–a collection of historic Front St. townhouses. The original houses on the block date back to 1812. Two of the original homes on Governor’s Row at #23 and #27 Front Street survived. The others were replaced or enlarged.

Also across the street from the park was the Dauphin County Courthouse with this beautiful statue and fountain out in front.

Our second stop was the Governor’s Residence. As we drove through town to find the residence and avoid all the one-way streets, we came across this historic old clock standing on the corner. I love to see these old historic clocks in cities.

Many of the streets were lined with historic brownstones, each one unique from the others in the row. They were everywhere.

By mistake, we ended up turning around at the historic King Mansion. The King Mansion was constructed during the Great Gatsby era in 1923 for a corporate tax attorney. It was one of the first of its kind. It had a swimming pool, bowling alley, and a shooting range in the basement. There was also an indoor gymnasium, a studio, library, and conservatory.

We finally located the Governor’s Residence after passing it by once before by accident. It was a beautiful home that backed up to the street along the river, but blocked from view by trees. The front of the home faced 2nd St. It was completed in 1966 and it is the 3rd executive mansion located in Harrisburg.

Our last stop of the day was the Pennsylvania State Capitol Complex built in 1902. Bob dropped me off in front, so I could get a close-up view of the capitol from 3rd St. It’s 5-story exterior is faced with granite and the roof is composed of green glazed terra cotta tiles. The 272 ft. dome is designed after Michaelangelo’s St. Peter’s Basilica in Rome. It is a gorgeous building and the dome is very distinctive. The gold female figure on the top of the Capitol dome is “Commonwealth”, representing freedom in Pennsylvania and was placed on the dome in 1905. She is 17 ft. 8 inches tall.

I spotted this beautiful mural painted on the side of a building near the Capitol.

This was another mural painted in the same vicinity as the Capitol.

We drove around to the other side of the Capitol building. It was even more gorgeous from the other side.

There were 2 stone pillars standing in Memorial Park nearby representing a memorial to Pennsylvania’s Medal of Honor Recipients.

We left there and drove back to the campground to relax outside with a cocktail before dinner with Auggie. It turned out to be a very nice day at 81 degrees, with a cool breeze, and no humidity or rain. We talked to Mary and John by phone. They had already arrived at our next campground near Harrisonburg, VA and will still be there 2 nights after we arrive. That will be the last time that our trips overlap paths. We watched some campers arrive in the afternoon, but it was pretty quiet otherwise. We had leftovers from our anniversary meals yesterday and Auggie and I took our evening walk. We have one more day here to visit Hershey’s World of Chocolate. Yum!

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