The Fight for the Pennsylvania Capital

Clipping from The Harrisburg Telegraph introducing a new bill to move the capital. “They Don’t Like Us”. Harrisburg Telegraph (Harrisburg, Pennsylvania) Tue, May 7, 1901. Newspapers.com.

The Burning and the rebuilding of the state capitol in Harrisburg is a key trigger for the development of the City Beautiful movement. in George Donehoo book, Harrisburg: The City Beautiful Romantic and Historic, he described the burning of the old capitol as the ending of the old Harrisburg City and “the Dawn of a New Era”. Many projects that improved Harrisburg aesthetic appeal in at the turn of the century are hard to compare to the 13-million-dollar capitol building finally finished in 1906, 9 years after the fire that burned down the building in 1897. In between 1897 and 1906, the people of Harrisburg rallied around their capital, yet at the same time, there were two moments when the title and prestige of being the capital of Pennsylvania were taken. When the building burnt down in February a movement centered out of Philadelphia, tried to convince Governor Hasting that it was time to change the capital to a new location. While initially rejected, the pressure to move the capital never diminished until 1901. The pressure to reconstruct the new building or move the whole capital is an important narrative to Harrisburg as it revealed the passion of the Harrisburg citizenry, Harrisburg press, and affection of the Pennsylvania politicians for the city. It also revealed the zeal of the Philadelphian people and politicians for their own city.