Italian Lake

Italian Lake (HM3VC)

Location: Harrisburg, PA 17110 Dauphin County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 17.484', W 76° 54.071'

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As early as 1903, reference was made to a strip of ground at the "head of Second Street" above Division Street which would become part of the comprehensive parks improvement plan advanced by landscape architect Warren Manning of Boston at the start of Harrisburg's City Beautiful Movement. Known even then as Italian Park, the land was a wooded wetland fed by springs and was a popular place for outings as were other sylvan areas just outside the city limits prior to the establishment of the city's park system. The "Italian" reference can best be attributed to Harrisburg hosteler Patricio Russ (1852-1925) who, in addition to operating several downtown Harrisburg hotels, had established a traveling lodge on N. Front Street known as the "Italian" Hotel, a name that became associated with the surrounding area. Although the future park was set forth in Manning's original concept, it would not be until the 1925 construction of the new William Penn High School that public improvements, supporting the quality of the overall development of the Uptown and Riverside neighborhoods, began to fall into place. That year, formal plans were advanced to create two lakes from the old watering hole and to use fill from the high school's excavation for grading and landscaping the new park. Between 1925 and 1939, the park and its formal gardens would slowly emerge to become an exquisite place of beauty. Distinguished by the landmark Japanese Bridge, and the elegant Dance of the Eternal Spring sculpture, which dates to 1909 and was placed in the southern lake's center in 1971, the park was even further enhanced by the 1990' under the Mayor's Citywide Parks Improvement Program, through the installation of period lighting fixtures, expanded gardens and walkways, and lake shoreline improvement.
Top Photo
1926 view looking north near Division Street showing commencement of grading work and original lake wetlands.
Bottom Photo
1931 aerial view looking north toward the partially-developed Riverside neighborhood with Italian Lake Park and Will Penn High School at right.
HM NumberHM3VC
Series This marker is part of the Pennsylvania: The Harrisburg History Project series
Placed ByThe Harrisburg History Project Commissioned by Mayor Stephen R. Reed
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Sunday, September 21st, 2014 at 8:36am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 338402 N 4461834
Decimal Degrees40.29140000, -76.90118333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 17.484', W 76° 54.071'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 17' 29.04" N, 76° 54' 4.26" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 2900-2918 N 3rd St, Harrisburg PA 17110, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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