Yes, it will be the name of the Franklin County Visitors Bureau’s new home–the 11/30 Visitors Center. But long before the visitors bureau took up residence at the crossroads of downtown Chambersburg, 11/30 was where Molly Pitcher Highway meets the Lincoln Highway. It is the Crossroads of the Country, one of the major American intersection with a storied history told throughout the 18th, 19th, and 20th centuries. It is Route 11–the Molly Pitcher Highway– and Route 30–the Lincoln Highway. It is the center of Franklin County and the Memorial Square of Chambersburg.
In the 18th century, 11/30 was the crossroads of the nation as Sots-Irish and German immigrants pushed the boundary of the frontier westward. As the century moved forward, 11/30 was a colonial gateway transporting early Americans toward their dreams of a better life. 11/30 was bustling with taverns and inns; liveries, wheelwrights, and blacksmiths, and stores with all forms of supplies for the journey to a new life.
In the 19th century, steam power brought the trains and 11/30 served as a busy hub for the newest mode of transportation. When Civil War touched the nation, the square of Chambersburg was the meeting place of Confederate General Robert E. Lee and his Commander of the Third Corps, General A.P. Hill. On this site, the Confederate leaders conferred on movement of the Union troops, changed plans to move towards Harrisburg, and decided to move east toward Gettysburg. The pivotal history that followed is well-known. Then, on July 30, 1864, a year later Confederates returned to Chambersburg, ransomed the town, and with the ransom not met, burned the core of town. American spirit prevailed, and the town rebuilt.
At the beginning of the 20th century as Americans discovered the automobile and the individual freedom it brought, their paths again traveled through this crossroads of the country–11/30, the meeting point of the oldest east-west road and one of the oldest north-south routes.
11/30 is Main Street America, reminiscent of a scene in a Rockwell painting. It is parades, festivals, and First Fridays. 11/30 is the launching point to explore Franklin County’s Franklin trails of history, arts and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro.
Two Franklin County tourism partners, Anderson CoGen and Mercersburg Inn, are teaming up to present “Finding Family in Franklin County” Genealogy Workshop on June 21-23. Finding family heritage is the number two hobby in the United States, according to USA Today and Time. A variety of DNA testing kits, online research tools, and television series focused on find family ancestry have combined to make genealogy research more than a passing fad or a means to confirming family credentials. Genealogy is for everyone. (more…)