Harrisburg's Unrealized Economic Expectations

It would be inaccurate to say that Harrisburg, Pennsylvania has been an economic failure. For two and a half centuries It has enjoyed relative prosperity, providing livelihoods for most if not all of its residents, and very comfortable livings to many. On the other hand, the community never achieved the economic superstatus among American cities that its entrepreneurs aspired to at various stages in its development.


Early settlement of Lemoyne began in 1724 when John Kelso and his ferrying partner and putative relative John Harris built a stone house at the east end of the future borough. 

Transportation, Competition, and the Growth of a Town: Carlisle, 1750-1860

Rapid improvements in modes of transportation occurred during the late eighteenth and the nineteenth centuries. These innovations altered the structure of the United States demographically, causing some population centers to flourish, others to die, and still others to be born. Major cities, such as Baltimore and Philadelphia, competed to build more extensive and efficient transportation systems to the hinterlands so that they could become the dominate outlets for the goods of the rural areas. Small towns in the interior of Pennsylvania which became entangled in this transportation web, such as Carlisle, prospered as a result of this competition.