My Digital Semester

Map of Harrisburg boundaries in the early 1900s showing the State Capitol grounds (green) and the Capitol Park Extension that replaced the Old Eighth Ward (dark orange) When I started taking digital history at the beginning of this semester, none of us could have predicted just how much digital learning would impact our semesters. When … Continue reading My Digital Semester

Mapping Harrisburg’s Population from the Old Eighth

From the 1900s to 1930s, Harrisburg underwent many transformations that affected its residents.  The City Beautiful Movement was sweeping across the U.S. and was helped along in Harrisburg by the old capitol burning down and a push to move the state capital back to Philadelphia (Williams, 1). The destruction of the old eighth ward and … Continue reading Mapping Harrisburg’s Population from the Old Eighth

Research at the PA State Archives: My Last Hands on Experience for a Long Time

I went in to my experience at the archives somewhat daunted, because I didn't have an extremely concrete idea of what I was going to be looking for. Initially interested in researching restrictive covenants, I soon found that the archives would not be much help in that area. I decided to look at arrest records … Continue reading Research at the PA State Archives: My Last Hands on Experience for a Long Time

Digitization and the Demolition of the Eighth Ward

Digital History and online learning have taken on a whole new meaning for me and many other students across the county and the world in the past few weeks. Last Thursday we visited the PA state archives and sorted through materials left behind from those living in Harrisburg a hundred years ago. I was looking … Continue reading Digitization and the Demolition of the Eighth Ward

Mystery of McFarland

Cities hold history in various forms. Some cities utilize murals to capture their past, others may use walking tours, but most city histories resides in archives and with local residents. Harrisburg, the capital of Pennsylvania, does not have the most accessible history. Due to my work with the Digital Harrisburg Initiative, I have spent an … Continue reading Mystery of McFarland

“Voices of the Eighth” is Historical Theater at Its Finest

The first thing that strikes you about Sankofa Theatre Company's latest production is its music. The play opens with an old-fashioned piano riff as we look at a picture of a Harrisburg building from the early 1900s. As the image shifts to an image of the same building in the present day, the soundtrack fades … Continue reading “Voices of the Eighth” is Historical Theater at Its Finest

Story Mapping Harrisburg’s Old Eighth Ward with ArcGIS

Last Sunday my friend Andre Frueh and I jumped in the car and drove twenty minutes from Messiah to the steps of the Harrisburg Capitol. We parked on the street by a meter, where parking is free on Sunday. We may be budding historians, but that doesn't mean we aren't on a budget. Our reason … Continue reading Story Mapping Harrisburg’s Old Eighth Ward with ArcGIS

New History: Updates on Digital Harrisburg

The team of students and faculty at Messiah College's branch of the Digital Harrisburg Initiative have been hard at work for the past few months on a variety of different projects. Our on-going involvement in the Look Up, Look Out campaign and Commonwealth Monument project allows many different students to lend their voices to important … Continue reading New History: Updates on Digital Harrisburg

Remembering in High-Resolution: Examining Photographs from Harrisburg’s Old Eighth Ward

As the Capitol building was erected The Old Eighth Ward, a culturally rich area mostly populated by immigrants and minorities was torn down to make space.  The narrative cast painted The Old Eighth as a place of vice.  Destroying it was justified because it was believed to be a seedy crime hub, a place not worth saving.  The goal of this project is to restore life to a place that it was taken from.