Dauphin County - Fort
5300 N. Front St.
Harrisburg, PA 17110
Explore Fort Hunter Park!
Hunter Park commands a magnificent view of the Susquehanna River
and Blue Mountains beyond. It was originally settled in 1725 by
Benjamin Chambers, who later founded Chambersburg.
Chamber's brother-in-law, inherited the well-favored property
which included grist and saw mills.
The bustling settlement thus became known as
Hunter's Mill. Faced with the mounting threat of the French and
Indian War, the British built a series of small forts from Harris
Ferry (Harrisburg) to Fort Augusta in Sunbury.
Among these was Fort Hunter, ideally
situated at a bend in the river, thereby serving as a alarm
station and supply depot. The Fort was a 10' by 14' log blockhouse
surrounded by a stockade and manned by volunteer soldiers, mostly
In 1763, following the defeat of the Indian
Nations, the Fort was left to decay. It was in 1787 that Captain
Archibald McAllister, a dashing young officer who had served
directly under General George Washington in the Revolutionary
Army, bought the land including the abandoned Fort, Hunter's Mill,
Under his spirited leadership, McAllister's
farm grew into a self-sufficient frontier village with grist and
saw mills, country store, blacksmith shop, school, artisan's
shops, a fine tavern and a most successful distillery.
landings permitted barges and other craft to anchor and the 1834
official opening of the Pennsylvania Canal encouraged a healthy
Daniel Dick Boas, a prominent Harrisburg
citizen, bought the property in 1870 and later willed it to his
daughter Helen, and son-in-law, John W. Reily. For half a century
the Reily dairy farm, graced with strutting peacocks and grazing
sheep, was a familiar landmark and social center for Harrisburg.
As the Reilys had no children, they left the
property to their nine nieces and nephews, One niece, Margaret
Wister Meigs, of Washington, D.C. recognizing the historical
significance of the site, had the foresight to buy the remaining
shares and to establish the Fort Hunter Museum.
In 1956, Mrs. Meigs and her family set up
the Fort Hunter Foundation and organized the Friends of Fort
Hunter with its volunteer membership to initiate a restoration and
Presently, owned by the County of Dauphin and
Board of Trustees for Fort Hunter, Fort Hunter Historic Park
provides beautiful recreational facilities embracing the Mansion
and estate-style grounds.
Facilities and Overview
Spectacularly located on a bluff overlooking
the Susquehanna and Blue Mountain, Fort Hunter Park consists of
about 50 acres. Donated in 1980 by the Meigs family, the park
includes ten historic buildings, two picnic pavilions, two sets of
playground equipment and a play field.
The park offers a variety
of programs and festivals throughout the year and the Mansion is
open for guided tours.
From US 22/322, exit onto Route 443 and
proceed west 1/2 miles. Turn left onto Front Street. The park is
located on both sides of Front Street.
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