Explore the history of the Old Eighth Ward, the heart of Harrisburg’s African American, Jewish, and immigrant neighborhoods in the late 19th century, which was wiped away to make way for the Capitol Park. The first extension claimed the district east of the State Capitol between Walnut and North Street between 1913 and 1919. A second extension in the mid-twentieth century removed the remaining blocks of the Eighth Ward between North Street and Forster.

Old Eighth Ward Street View Swipe Map

This interactive web app allows the viewer to swipe and compare a 1901 city map with modern day aerial photos of the same location. Contains street view historical photographs of the Eighth Ward between 1890 and 1920.

Look Up, Look Out Exhibit

Explore some of the main historical themes and stories of the Old Eighth Ward 

Old Eighth Photo Galleries

Old Eighth Ward with the new state capitol in the background, ca. 1911, before demolition

Rhythms of Resilience in the Eighth: From Abolition to Suffrage (Poster Exhibits)

Poster exhibits produced by Messiah University’s Center for Public Humanities, and faculty and students of Messiah’s Public History course. Posters were initially displayed in Gamut Theatre for the Sankofa African American Theatre Company’s performances of Voices of the Eighth: Rhythms of Resilience, written by Sharia Benn and sponsored by Dauphin County Commissioners.

The Cost of a Beautiful City: Harrisburg’s Old Eighth Ward (Omeka Exhibit)

View Rachel Williams’ collection of primary documents (Capitol Park Extension Commission minutes), historic photographs digitized from Pennsylvania State Archives, and GIS maps of displaced persons.

The Destruction of the Eighth Ward in Harrisburg, PA (Omeka Exhibit)

Kathleen Heiser’s collection and exhibit of digital objects related to the main destruction of the Eighth Ward in 1913-1919. Objects include documents related to the State’s purchase of property, minutes from the Capitol Park Extension Committee, and newspaper articles.

Harrisburg’s Old 8th Ward Website (by Stephanie Patterson Gilbert)

Learn more about the Old Eighth Ward by exploring the website of Penn State Harrisburg created and designed by Stephanie Patterson Gilbert

Old Eighth Facebook Page

Read weekly posts and images of the Old Eighth and learn about the activities of the Commonwealth Monument Project