New Civil War Trail Sign Unveiled in Downtown Chambersburg

New Civil War Trail Sign Unveiled in Downtown Chambersburg

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.

Franklin County Joins Civil War Trail Program

Franklin County Joins Civil War Trail Program

Earlier in December, a new Civil War Trails sign was installed in the Chambersburg Square. The sign, located in front of the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center, is one of many planned in Franklin County as the multi-state program expands into Pennsylvania–the sixth state to join the program.

The first Civil War Trials site will be a gateway for visitors to explore Chambersburg on foot and to encourage exploration of Franklin County. “The opportunity to network Franklin County’s stories into a nation-wide program opens the county to new visitors. Civil War Trails is marketed nationally and internationally to tell America’s stories, and Franklin County certainly has many to tell,” said Janet Pollard, executive director of Franklin County Visitors Bureau.

Chambersburg’s new site is among the first half dozen being installed in Pennsylvania since the Commonwealth joined the program earlier in 2021.

“Civil War Trails continues to grow into new areas with partners seeing an increasing return on investment,” said Chris Brown, Assistant Director of Civil War Trails, Inc. “The program is recognized among travelers, particularly younger visitors, who are looking for authentic experiences and local history.”

The Foundation for Enhancing Communities (TFEC) funded the cost of the new Civil War Trail sign in Chambersburg as part of its 100-year celebration. TFEC works to strengthen and support community. It is funding a second sign in Chambersburg to be installed later in 2022. Other sites in Franklin County under consideration include Monterey Pass Battlefield, near Blue Ridge Summit, and the Allison-Antrim Museum in Greencastle.

The Civil War Trails team also installed two new signs in Wrightsville along the Susquehanna River in York County. In total, the team installed, updated, or repaired 27 Civil War Trails sites across Pennsylvania, Virginia, Maryland, and West Virginia during the week. Once installed, each Civil War Trails site is constantly updated with new content and refreshed to ensure a well-maintained product, which is always worth revisiting.

To learn more about the Civil War Trails program, visit www.civilwartrails.org and @civilwartrails on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.

 

October 16 Is A Celebration at Franklin County Visitors Center

October 16 Is A Celebration at Franklin County Visitors Center

On October 16, join the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at the 11/30 Visitors Center to celebrate 100 Years of The Foundation for Enhancing Community (TFEC), a launch of the Civil War Trails in Franklin County PA, and the Chambersburg Quilt Guild’s Stitches in Time Quilt Show. Adding to the festivities is AppleFest—a celebration of the harvest season with craft and art vendors, food, and live music.

“October 16 is an extra-special day,” said Janet Pollard, executive director of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau. “because we are recognizing TFEC for more than 100 years of supporting and helping to build community. As part of TFEC’s 100th anniversary, it sponsored Civil War Trails signs in Chambersburg and by doing so, launches the trails in Franklin County.”

The Civil War Trails (CWT) are expected to mark between two and three dozen sites in Franklin County. Currently, CWT interprets more than 1200 locations in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, and Tennessee and produces 15 map-guides to distribute domestically, internationally, and online.

“The support of TFEC is like opening a door. It is the beginning to sharing Franklin County stories of Civil War heroines, John Brown, Frederick Douglass, Martin Delany, USCT, and the three invasions of Franklin County throughout the Civil War,” said Pollard.

At the outset of the Civil War, Franklin County was a farming community. Today, agriculture remains a leading industry. It is only appropriate to have the Stitches in Time Quilt Show as part of the celebration. Quilting is a tradition of farm families everywhere and especially Franklin County. The exhibit contains nearly 200 quilts and quilted items, includes patriotic quilts, breast cancer tribute quilts, holiday quilts, and more.

The public is invited to join the celebration with TFEC and launch of the Civil War Trails at 11 AM at the 11/30 Visitors Center, 15 South Main Street. AppleFest is a day-long event, beginning at 9 AM and concluding at 4 PM. The Stitches in Time Quilt Show is open until 4:30 PM on October 16, noon to 3 PM on October 17, and weekdays 8 AM to 4:30 PM through October 31.

Remember Chambersburg!

Remember Chambersburg!

In the summer of 1863, Franklin County PA was the advance and the retreat of the Battle of Gettysburg. Confederate General Robert E. Lee and more than 65,000 men camped in and around Chambersburg. Until the Battle of Gettysburg, the tide of Civil War ebbed and flowed between the North and South. But, with the losses of the Battle of Gettysburg, the chances of Southern victory, it is often seen as the turning point of the American Civil War. But, the Civil War connection does not begin and end here. Chambersburg, PA saw far more destruction in the summer of 1864.

General “Tiger” John McCausland, under orders from General Jubal Early, ransomed Chambersburg for $500,000 in U.S. currency or a $100,000 in gold on July 30, 1864. Unable to raise the money, the town was fired. Confederates ordered the burning as retribution for Union destruction by Union General David Hunter in Virginia.

As the call “remember Chambersburg” echoed throughout the North, the Franklin Repository of August 24, 1864 reported that half of the town’s people were homeless and many more penniless and helpless.  Nearly 600 citizens filed claims asking the federal government to repay them for the damage.

Learn more about the Burning of Chambersburg here.