So Much History To Discover in Chambersburg

By Laiton Suders, Intern, Greater Chambersburg Chamber of Commerce

Cover IMG_ctc1How much do you know about downtown Chambersburg? If you ask this question, you might receive an uncertain answer such as, “Well, there’s the square with the fountain, that really big church, and that’s where the courthouse is, right?”

Photo: Memorial Square during the early 1900s. Credit: Mike Marotte, III.

It’s true, the Central Presbyterian Church does have a 186-foot steeple, and the Franklin County Court House sits in Memorial Square beside the historic fountain. But, if you check out the series of self-guided Downtown Walking Tours, you’ll find that there’s so much more to know about the buildings you drive by all the time.

I know, “Downtown Walking Tours” sounds very tourist-y and educational, but you don’t have to be a tourist or a history buff to enjoy them. With the two pamphlets you can download here or pick up at the Heritage Center & Gift Shop, you’ll be able to take a stroll downtown and see for yourself all the things that make Chambersburg special.

Founding Family statuePhoto: The Founding Fathers statue in Chambers Fort Park. Credit: Lark Plessinger, Chambersburg Chamber.

The tour starts in the well-known Memorial Square and continues throughout Main Street, Second Street, King Street and more, for a total of 40 stops. These landmarks include the oldest Masonic temple in Pennsylvania, the baseball field played on by Babe Ruth and the New York Yankees, and the tavern where George Washington spent the night in 1794 to review troops before their march during the Whiskey Rebellion. You’ll see the private fort built by Benjamin Chambers, the tavern that served as a courthouse while our current courthouse was being constructed, and even the Washington Hotel, which was known to be a resting place for a variety of celebrities over the years.

Don’t go another week mindlessly driving past history and leaving community pride behind you. And if you’re walking around in search of Pokémon anyway, pick up a guide and get to know the town you call “home.”