Here is situated the nationally renowned historic and contemporary urban hub of the City of Harrisburg and the Greater Harrisburg Metropolitan Area. Laid out as the center focus of John Harris, Jr.'s plan in 1785 when Harrisburg was a launching point for Western pioneer excursions and a trading center, Market Square has witnessed ongoing transformations driven by a town on the move. Originally occupying low swampy land, the Square was configured and improved to allow for the erection in 1792 of two central farmers markets to serve frontiersmen and residents alike. They remained the center of trade for the farmers of the region until more congested transportation activity and the development of the Chestnut, Allison Hill and Broad Street market houses caused their demise in 1889. Poised as a nucleus of street car activity and overall city hustle and bustle, the Square commanded the best inns and stores as well as Harrisburg's first multi-story office buildings and continued to evolve into the corporate and hotel center that it is today. Here is the site of many events and rallies. Abraham Lincoln, John F. Kennedy, Bill Clinton and nearly every other U.S. President, and a host of others from Charles Dickens to the earliest pioneers, are but some of the millions of people who have visited this Square over the past 200 years.
Market Square looking north in 1880 showing the market houses which were demolished in 1889.
Market Square's energy is captured in this 1908 view looking north.
Market Square postcard view looking south from the Union Trust Building in 1910. Note the Johnston Building (now the Menaker Building) left center before 5th and 6th floors were added.