26th Elegant Progressions to Visit “Magnificent Mansions on Front!”
Dec 1 and 2 Visits “Magnificent Mansions on Front”
Three Magnificent Front Street mansions, all recently restored to their dazzling 1920s splendor, comprise the venue for the 26th edition of “Elegant Progressions,” the acclaimed black-tie progressive dinner that has been a partnership project of The Historic Harrisburg Association and The Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania since 1992.
Seatings are offered on the evenings of Friday, Dec. 1 and Saturday, Dec. 2. Transportation is being provided and sponsored by Unique Limousine, Central Pennsylvania’s leading provider of luxury transportation services. Guests will be transported throughout the evening to the respective stops for hors d’oeuvre and aperitifs, formal dinner and, to cap off the evening, a grand dessert buffet.
Hors d’oeuvre and aperitifs will be served at the Evans-Hartzler Mansion, built for Harrisburg attorney Berne H. Evans in 1925 in a stone-constructed, picturesque “Norman” architectural style. Subsequently converted to office use, and with an unsympathetic modern addition obscuring the primary façade, it languished until its acquisition in 2016 by Kristine and Alex Hartzler, who undertook a thorough interior and exterior restoration, re-converting it to residential use for their family. This project was awarded Historic Harrisburg Association’s 2017 Preservation Award.
The setting for our formal candlelight dinner is the show-stopping King-Kurowski Mansion, largest of all Front Street mansions, built in 1924 for Harrisburg attorney Horace King for his family and servants in the Italian Renaissance Revival style, characterized by lavish cut stonework and a glazed tile roof. Converted to office use, it served for many years as the home of Merchants and Business Men’s Mutual Insurance Company, who added a major addition in 1954 and partitioned the major first-floor entertaining rooms. Restoration begun by recent owner Alex Hartzler and completed by its newest owner J. Marc Kurowski has restored the interior to its original elegance.
Guests will conclude their evening with a sumptuous dessert buffet at distinctive Federal-revival-style mansion built in 1927 for General Henry Gross, who lived here for 50 years until 1977. Subsequent owner Mary Knackstedt headquartered her interior design business here, using first floor spaces as showrooms and residing on the second and third floors. When a proposal to demolish this entire block of Front Street – three historic mansions in all – to make way for a garden apartment complex met fierce community opposition, the project was abandoned, and all three properties were sold. Once deemed “beyond saving,” the three iconic mansions have all been restored and reoccupied for residential use. Erica and Chris Bryce, who have rescued other historic landmarks in Harrisburg, have restored the Gross Mansion to its former splendor as home for themselves and their daughters.
Serving as Co-chairs of Elegant Progressions 2017 are Phyllis Hicks and Dimitri Zozos, assisted by Joan Line, executive director of The Kidney Foundation of Central Pennsylvania, David J. Morrison, executive director of Historic Harrisburg Association, and a team of more than 35 volunteers.
Sponsorship packages and individual tickets may be purchased on line at www.elegantprogressions.org. or by phoning 717.233.4646.