Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward

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Arcadia Publishing, 2002 - History - 160 pages
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Harrisburg was the capital of an increasingly urban and progressive Pennsylvania at the turn of the twentieth century, with the remnants of an older, more diverse city thriving in its midst. As the streets were paved for the first time and the new state capitol building rose over a humming industrial city ready to embrace change, Harrisburg's Eighth Ward clung to its rambunctious past. When the "Old Eighth" stood in the way of the new Capitol Park, one journalist asked his readers to take a stroll through the streets one last time.

J. Howard Wert's "Passing of the Old Eighth" articles-awash in images of decrepitude and vice-appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot in 1912-1913 and introduced readers to such cheats, fools, and boozers as Harry Cook and "Billy Jelly." This volume presents the complete series of 35 articles chronicling the adventures of people who lived through some of the most sweeping changes in American history. More than 100 photographs-most never before published-evoke Wert's tales of a turbulent Harrisburg now long gone. Through the captivating, rarely objective voice of turn-of-the-century journalism, readers visit vanished churchyards, stroll the halls of forgotten hotels, and walk with the ghosts of gangs through crumbling alleys to brothels, gambling dens, and speakeasies. No history of Harrisburg can match this one for detailed stories of the successes and scandals of the city's "good old days."

Noted educator, journalist, and Civil War veteran J. Howard Wert's articles bring to life the colorful characters and day-to-day grit and drama of his time. By turns pious, hard-nosed, and folksy, Wert's prose veers wildly among literary modes but never fails to entertain. A melding of nineteenth-century moral sensibility and modern appreciation for progress makes this work as accessible to today's readers as it was to Wert's contemporaries.

 

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Contents

Acknowledgments
7
Preface
8
Introduction
9
Early History of the Old Eighth Ward
20
Street Plotting and Modes of Building
23
A Former Capitol Park Extension
25
Politics and Politicians
29
Churches in the Park Extension
33
Old Time Gambling Dens of the Park Extension Section
66
The Ultimate of the Eighth Ward Gambling Fraternity
74
The State Street Bridge Gang
78
The Bay Foundry
82
The Bay Shoe Co
87
The Paxton Flour and Feed Co
92
Speakeasies of the Old Eighth
96
CONTFNTS
100

Notable History of Wesley Union A M E Zion Church
36
Synagogue Kesher Israel
40
Bethel A M E Church on State Street Synagogue Chisuk Emuna
43
Harry Cook and Lafayette Hall
46
Lafayette Hall Rescue Mission
50
Public Schools in the Park Extension
53
Public Schools in the Park Extension continued
56
The Tow Path Men and Lumber Raft Yankees Who Infected
59
A Model Hotel in the Old Eighth
109
White Slavery in the Old Eighth
119
How a Youth Fond of Experiments Made Things Lively in the
127
Two Notable Fire Companies
136
The Red Lion at its Lowest
145
Birds of Prey
154
Copyright

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Page 158 - The Historical Society of Dauphin County and the Pennsylvania State Archives, both in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania.

About the author (2002)

Collected and edited by Penn State University professors Michael Barton and Jessica Dorman, Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward offers a detailed study of a single urban area at a time when America rushed headlong into the future.

Collected and edited by Penn State University professors Michael Barton and Jessica Dorman, Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward offers a detailed study of a single urban area at a time when America rushed headlong into the future.

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