As new houses were constructed in the city and suburbs of Harrisburg in the 1920s-1950s, they increasingly conveyed restrictions not only about fences and construction, but also about who could and could not live in the house. Coming Fall 2020, a developing exhibit and story map.

Restrictions have long been important to property deeds, but in the 1920s-1950s, these restrictions also often included language about the kind of person allowed or prohibited from a property.

These were especially common in housing deeds such as this deed dating to February 24, 1926, arranged by the Commonwealth Trust Company of Harrisburg for a property on Cloverly Heights near Hudson and Sycamore Streets.

But such restrictions were common to many other kinds of property. In the example below from Middlesex Township in Cumberland County, dating to February 19, 1930, the Letort Evangelical Church sells plots of its cemetery to a private citizen on condition that they will only bury white people in the cemetery.

Such restrictive covenants made explicit the strong color boundaries and outright racial prejudices prevalent across central Pennsylvania in the middle of the 20th century.

This is a developing exhibit that we will be expanding on 2020-2021.