Franklin County joined the Civil War Trails with the unveiling of “Flashpoint of Invasion.” The sign, located outside the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, is the newest Civil War Trails sign along the Pennsylvania segment of the trail, which came to life with a half-dozen story boards in 2021.
Franklin County’s location, access to rail, and an abundance of crops and livestock made the county a prime target during the Civil War. Even before war, Franklin County’s location played a role. The county held a network of secret passages and many operatives, who helped escaping enslaved move to safety. Again, location played a role in Franklin County’s history when John Brown and his men established a northern headquarters in Chambersburg. With access to the Cumberland Valley Railroad, Brown and his men stockpiled weapons throughout the spring and summer, leading up to the Raid on Harpers Ferry in October 1859.
“Flashpoint of Invasion” serves as a gateway to exploring Chambersburg and Franklin County. More than two dozen Franklin County sites are identified as Civil War Trail stories, as the Franklin County Visitors Bureau works to secure funding to install the signs. The Civil War Trails program is recognized by travelers, particularly those seeking authentic experiences and local history. History travelers are getting younger and these travelers, age 25-34, are the largest growing segment. Many travelers are pairing their interest in history with recreation and locally sourced food and beverages.
The Foundation For Enhancing Communities (TFEC) funded “Flashpoint of Invasion” as part of its 100-year celebration and is funding a second Civil War sign in 2022. TFEC focuses on building strong communities for a lasting impact.