Saturday, March 28, 2015


Over the last few days, the Box has tooled around Harrisburg and vicinity, hauling its aging owner to places old and new.

On Sunday, March 3, I went down to the National Historic Landmark John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion to attend the Second Sunday program in the mansion's Victorian parlor. Jim Taljan and others from the Fackler Funeral Home in Harrisburg spoke about the history of the business, started in 1865. There were some interesting photos projected, and some artifacts reflecting funeral practices were displayed. This was in some ways a "preparatory" lesson for the upcoming program on Abraham Lincoln's funeral train passing through Harrisburg in 1865.

A few days later, I drove to Camp Hill to meet with a realtor about a property the historical society is offering for sale. I always like to cross over the Susquehanna on I-81 and then turn south on US 11-15 toward Enola, West Fairview, and Wormleysburg. I stopped at my favorite boat landing in West Fairview to take a few pictures of the melting ice flowing down the river toward the Chesapeake Bay. Fortunately, all of the ice melted without causing flooding in our area.


After meeting with the realtor, I went back to I-81 through the city, crossing the river on the Harvey Taylor Bridge, continuing on Forster Street to Seventh Street, rather recently widened to create a nice alternative to Cameron Street's heavy traffic.

All along Seventh Street were empty lots where houses and other buildings had been bulldozed, either because they were in the way of the widening or were dilapidated beyond repair. Occasionally one house in a row was spared, probably because a long-time owner had kept the home in repair, unlike the absentee landlords who were their neighbors. While the houses show evidence of alterations, like windows, siding, or painted brick, they are still reminiscent of what this whole neighborhood once looked like. These houses created an odd sight, too tall and skinny to ever have been designed to stand alone.

After stopping to photograph the houses, I decided to turn up to Sixth Street, past my childhood home, and stopping for a light at Division Street. Ahead and to my right was this house, one of my favorites since childhood, even before I had developed an appreciation for architecture. All I know is that the house looked friendly and welcoming -- and still does.

I used to visit this house as a child when two doctors had their office there -- in the smaller section of the house on the right. I got a lot of vaccinations there!

After all this fun, I drove directly up Sixth Street, turning left somewhere to get over to Front Street, onto the Interstate, and home. Another wonderful day in the Box.

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