The soldiers and sailors of Harrisburg and Dauphin County who gave their lives during the Civil War were commemorated with the 1866 start-up of construction of the Obelisk in the center of the downtown intersection of N. Second and State Streets. Potentially inspired by the Capitol Mall setting of the Washington Monument, under construction at the same time in the District of Columbia, the Obelisk was positioned midway and symmetrically between the Old State Capitol Building and the Susquehanna River. Both the Obelisk and the Washington Monument shared funding shortfalls with resulting delays in project construction. At the time of its completion in 1875 through a renewed capital campaign effort led by Colonel Henry McCormick, State Street was a wide expanse of dirt later to be improved with a central landscaped mall of grass and flowers. The Obelisk thus became State Street's photogenic centerpiece icon. By the late 1950's, however, increased traffic congestion rendered the Obelisk a hazard, which lead to an aggressive plan to move it to an alternate location. A. site at the corner of N. Third and Division Streets was selected, and in 1959-60, the Susquehanna granite stones of the Obelisk were dismantled and reassembled piece-by-piece, giving the monument a new focal point of beauty and commemoration.
Postcard view of The Obelisk in 1900.
Base of The Obelisk at left looking toward the present Capitol Building in 1910.
The Obelisk being disassembled in 1959.