Promoting historic preservation, urban revitalization and smart growth since 1973!
Established in 1973 in the aftermath of two events, the devastating effects of the flood caused by Hurricane Agnes and the demolition of Harrisburg’s spectacular State Theatre, Historic Harrisburg Association serves as the Capital Region’s advocacy organization for historic preservation and urban revitalization. A non-profit charitable and educational organization, HHA’s primary aims are to promote the restoration, preservation and enjoyment of historic neighborhoods and landmarks, whose stewardship is vital to the region’s residential, commercial, economic and cultural life.
Over the past four decades, HHA has worked collaboratively with City Government, civic organizations, neighborhood groups and other non-profit organizations to carry out its mission and goals. Accomplishments have included:
- Establishment of seven historic districts within the City of Harrisburg, providing incentives, guidelines and requirements for preserving and restoring historic properties;
- Initiation of Harrisburg’s now-extensive heritage tourism industry, which dates to the launching of HHA’s Candlelight House Tour in 1973 and has grown to include walking tours, guide services for bus groups and curriculum-based tours for school groups;
- The prevention of demolition of numerous landmarks, through advocacy, communication and organized citizen action;
- Establishment in 1986 of Harrisburg’s Historic Preservation Awards program, whereby noteworthy and praiseworthy examples of historic preservation are recognized and identified with bronze plaques;
- Establishment in 1996 of the Community Historic Preservation Fund as a permanent financial resource to assist HHA and the community at large in undertaking historic preservation projects, initiatives and advocacy efforts; and
- The encouragement of historically accurate and appropriate restoration and rehabilitation, through educational programming, information distribution, and consultation with property owners and investors.
In 1993, in celebration of its 20th Anniversary, Historic Harrisburg was given the century-old Central Trust Company building across from the Broad Street Market in Midtown to ensure its preservation as an architectural landmark and community resource. As the Historic Harrisburg Resource Center, the building serves as HHA’s own headquarters as well as that of the Pennsylvania Downtown Center, the Harrisburg Parks Foundation and the Midtown Action Council. With spaces for meetings, exhibits and receptions, the facility is extensively used by community groups for a wide range of civic and educational functions.
Largely because of the work of HHA and its civic partners, Harrisburg now stands as a primary example of how historic preservation can contribute to the reversal of decline in American cities. In Historic Harrisburg’s 40+ years of existence, dozens of multi-million-dollar preservation projects — and thousands of smaller ones — have contributed greatly to the quality of life, economic vitality and visual attractiveness of Pennsylvania’s capital city.