Monday, December 14, 2009

Back When Politics Could Get You Institutionalized

Michael Barton. An Illustrated History of Greater Harrisburg: Life By the Moving Road. Sun Valley, Ca.: American Historical Press, 2009.
John Harris traded with Native Americans. In 1722, according to legend, he refused to trade rum to Native Americans he deduced were already drunk. This refusal angered them, so they tied John Harris to a tree and announced their intention to burn him. Hercules, a slave of John Harris, ran to friendly Paxton Native Americans for help. The Paxtons arrived before the fire was applied to Harris and Harris was saved. Harris then freed Hercules. It is unknown how much of this actually happened, yet several versions of this event were passed down.

The Pennsylvania State Lunatic Hospital opened in 1851. Causes for admission included “novel reading” and “politics”. Opium was a commonly prescribed medication.

In 1904, Harrisburg had 450 streets lights and 180 schools, 19 newspapers (daily and weekly), and 100 passenger trains stopping daily.

In 1928, Harrisburg had 33 schools, 13 theaters, 22 hotels, 3 major newspapers, and 142 passenger trains stopping daily.

Harrisburg had a “City Beautiful” movement that attempted to attract more single family homes rather than row homes that later became known as the “City Practical” movement.


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