Chambersburg Heritage Center

Displaying the History of Franklin County

Exhibit Areas - Original Art - Walking & Driving Tours - Gift Shop - Children's Activity Room

HOURS: Monday-Friday from 8 a.m.-5 p.m., Saturdays during May-October from 10 a.m.-3 p.m.
FREE Admission, except for group tours (reservation required) - Free visitor parking - Handicap accessible
100 Lincoln Way East, Chambersburg, PA 17201
717-264-7101

The Heritage Center at 100 Lincoln Way East is an excellent place to begin your exploration of the region. This historic building located on the southeast corner of Chambersburg’s Memorial Square in the National Historic District is a renovated 1915 marble bank building, the former Valley National Bank.

The Heritage Center is an interpretive center, explaining five areas of historical merit in Chambersburg and Franklin County. The Center opens the door to the distinctive history of Franklin County and its communities.

Exhibits: 

Frontier History - In the 1700s, Chambersburg was the frontier. People came to the Cumberland Valley for religious freedom, personal freedom and a better way of life. Scots-Irish immigrants came first, followed by Germans. The land was lush and beautiful with fertile valleys, abundant water, wildlife, game and fish. The Indians called it Kittatinny, meaning "endless hills." As the 18th century progressed, tension between the British and the French involved the Indians. Both private and provincial forts were built to inhibit Indian raids. Explore Chambersburg as the frontier in this exhibit.
Architectural History - From covered bridges and bank barns to log cabins and Florentine church steeples, the variety of Franklin County architecture compliments the County's scenic beauty. Downtown Chambersburg showcases late Victorian architecture. In an effort to rebuild the downtown quickly after the burning of the town by Confederate soldiers in 1864, several contractors were employed. Each used a "signature" design around the windows called Carpenter's Art. Today, the Carpenter's Art lends to the charm of Chambersburg's downtown.

Transportation History - Since its early days, Chambersburg has been important to trasportation. Natural resources and geography of the land brought Indians, who made trails for hunting, fishing and trading. Conestoga wagons rolled into the Cumberland Valley, and frontier settlers made their homes along these paths. Progress in transportation continued and where Indians walked and stagecoach wheels rolled, railroad ties were soon placed. From Indian trails to the advent of the automibile, experience Chamberburg's transportation story.

Civil War History: The Freedom Trail - From the start, Chambersburg and Franklin County played a role in the sectional issues that would erupt in the bloody Civil War in 1861. Because of its proximity to the Mason-Dixon Line, this area served as an avenue to freedom for enslaved African-Americans in the decades prior to and during the four years of the war. Learn how abolitionist John Brown impacted Chambersburg and the issue of slavery and state's rights.

Civil War History: Invasions & Raids - From the start, Chambersburg and Franklin County played an important role in many of the major events of the Civil War. Some occurred before war came, some during its peak, and some after the outcome of the war was decided. Learn about the sequence of events during the Civil War that led to the devastating invasion of Chambersburg on July 30, 1864-The Burning of Chambersburg-where more than 500 structures burned and 2,000 people were left homeless.


Heritage Center Gift Shop:

The gift shop includes books about local history, including "The Burning of Chambersburg," by historian Ted Alexander; "The Great Invasion," about the Confederate raids of Franklin County during the Civil War, written by Chambersburg shopkeeper Jacob Hoke in the 1880s. First edition copies of "Southern Revenge" and a newly published softcover edition are available; this book covers local Civil War history.

Also available are Chambersburg postcards, T-shirts, caps, movies, mugs and more, including 11/30 items commemorating Chambersburg's location at the intersection of Route 11 and Route 30.   

For more information about tours, the gift shop and events, call 717-264-7101 or email receptionist@chambersburg.org