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Cumberland Valley History

Founded in 1750, Cumberland Valley is steeped in history -- from its architectural downtowns to the modern facilities honoring past heroes. As you explore, you'll find museums and historical sites where you can interact with the past in new ways and uncover why the Valley is as passionate about history as it is about making it.

Did you know?

  • Organized in 1789, the Union Fire Co. No. 1 in Carlisle is housed in the Victorian firehouse built in 1888. 
  • During World War II, the Enola Rail Yards consisted of 217 sets of track that handled more than 10,000 rail cars a day.
  • Mary Ludwig Hays (better known as Molly Pitcher) is renowned for her bravery at the Battle of Monmouth during the Revolutionary War where she assisted her husband at his gun station. Visit her grave and statue at the Old Graveyard in Carlisle on E. South Street. 
  • The Carlisle Indian School is where Olympian Jim Thorpe and more than 10,000 American Indian children went to school from 1879-1918.
  • On March 2, 1905, Geronimo rode on horseback in a downtown Carlisle parade as part of a procession of six American Indian chiefs representing five tribes. They led a contingent of Carlisle Indian School students as a kind of dress rehearsal for the inaugural parade of President Theodore Roosevelt scheduled for March 4. He addressed the students at the school's chapel later that evening and the group departed Carlisle the morning of March 4 for the inauguration. Geronimo returned to Carlisle on March 7 to tour the Lindner Shoe Factory with an entourage of other chiefs. The next day, he left again for Washington before returning to Fort Sill.
  • The Locust Grove Cemetery in Shippensburg has been the final resting place of Shippensburg area African-Americans for nearly two hundred years. Among those buried on the cemetery grounds are twenty-six black Civil War veterans who served with the U.S. Colored Troops between 1863 and 1865. Those veterans include men who served with the 54th and 55th Massachusetts Volunteer Regiments, the first combat units open to African-American men during the Civil War, which were the units featured in the movie Glory
  • During the Confederate invasion through Carlisle from June 27-30, 1863, both West and East Colleges at Dickinson College were used as hospitals for wounded Union soldiers and captured Confederates. 
  • Confederates shelled Carlisle during their invasion in 1863. Marks are still visible on the one column at the Old Courthouse
  • George Washington really did sleep here - for an entire week in October 1794. So did 14,000 militiamen. They came to Carlisle to march with Washington to Western Pennsylvania to quell the Whiskey Rebellion. 
  • The Carlisle Barracks maintains more than 100 historic buildings, 22 of which are listed in the National Historic Register.

Trip Ideas

Check out these trip ideas that will immerse you in historical explorations and offer an insightful glimpse into the past.

All Things Civil War

The Cumberland Valley played a significant role in America’s Civil War. In the prelude to the Battle of Gettysburg, Southern troops passed through the valley, occupied communities, skirmished with the...

USAHEC: An Evocative Portrayal of U.S. Army History

Notable battlefields, celebrated landmarks, and modern-day museums showcase historic moments throughout Pennsylvania. The Cumberland Valley region also has a rich and storied history that delights history buffs and...

Hiking & History

Learning about the history of a location doesn't have to happen inside a museum. As warm weather approaches, check out these Cumberland Valley locations where you can add some historical knowledge to your...

History & Hops

Cumberland Valley is filled with history and local spots serving up craft brews. Dive into the museums, walking tours and architecture that make the Valley a one-of-a-kind spot for history buffs. After, grab a cold...

 

Must-See in Cumberland Valley

Discover and explore all the possibilities