Federal Square

Federal Square (HM417)

Location: Harrisburg, PA 17101 Dauphin County
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Country: United States of America
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N 40° 15.701', W 76° 52.929'

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One block northeast of Harrisburg's Market Square is located a place that became known by the end of the 19th century as Federal Square, the block bounded by N. Third, Locust, Court and Walnut Streets. Since 1877, this block has been the site of the U.S. Government's presence in Harrisburg. By act of Congress that year, funds were authorized for the construction of Harrisburg's first stand-alone and fully complemented post office facility. Earlier, Harrisburg's post offices had been located first in the residences of the Postmasters and then in a number of storefronts at numerous locations downtown. Even at that time, Harrisburg brought innovations in postal work including being the first city in the United States to have a letter carrier. Completed in 1882 at a cost of $401,000, the Renaissance Revival-styled new post office contributed to the city's collection of major public buildings including the Grand Opera House, the old Capitol Building, the 1850 Dauphin County Courthouse and the adjacent Dauphin County Prison, which faced Federal Square on Walnut Street. The Old Post Office was surrounded by grass lawns and open space, thus acquiring the "Square" distinction in contrast with the density of the surrounding urban setting. In time, additional federal offices would share the postal facility, including the U.S. Third Circuit Pennsylvania Middle District Court, which was created in 1901, and the Internal Revenue Service. Growth in the Federal system called for an addition to the Post Office in 1918, designed in the same architectural style, along Locust Street. By the mid 1960's, the building had become obsolete and consequently was replaced by the present 11-story structure with continued postal service operations as the Federal Square Station.
Top Photo
1929 view of the Old Post Office and Federal Square looking northwest.
Middle Photo
Circa 1882 view of the Old Post Office under construction looking west.
Bottom Photo
1958 view toward N. Third and Locust Streets of the Old Post Office showing the 1918 addition along Locust Street.
HM NumberHM417
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 Tuesday, October 14th, 2014 at 1:32pm PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18T E 339950 N 4458501
Decimal Degrees40.26168333, -76.88215000
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 40° 15.701', W 76° 52.929'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds40° 15' 42.06" N, 76° 52' 55.74" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)717
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 303 Walnut St, Harrisburg PA 17101, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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