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Fort Hunter Historic District

  • N Front St. Harrisburg, PA 17110
  • (717) 599-5751

Fort Hunter Historic District is located on an area of land bordered by the Susquehanna River and Fishing Creek. Continuously settled since the early 1700s, the area was home to a garrison and supply fort used during the French and Indian War and later, a section of the Pennsylvania Canal. The historic district contains eleven locations: the Archibald McAllister mansion, a spring house, Everhart Covered Bridge, a circa 1876 barn, farm house, garage, stable, tavern house, ice house, Hunter’s Mill, the archaeological remains of the fort and garrison, and the canal. Six circa 1798 buildings are no longer standing. Fort Hunter was the site of a busy settlement boasting a successful grist mill and sawmill. Originally founded by Benjamin Chambers in 1720 and later inherited by his son-in-law Samuel Hunter, it became known as Hunter’s Mill. At the outbreak of war, a log blockhouse surrounded by a stockade was constructed and manned by volunteer provincial soldiers. Fort Hunter’s location at a bend in the river made it an ideal alarm station and supply outpost throughout the war. Following the end of the war in 1763, the fort was allowed to decay until 1787 when it was purchased by Revolutionary War Captain Archibald McAllister, who built his home there and transformed the land into a successful farm and frontier village that included a blacksmith’s shop, fine tavern, grist and saw mills, a school, and distillery. Following his death, McAllister’s son inherited the property. In 1870, prominent Harrisburg citizen Daniel Dick Boas purchased the McAllister mansion and associated properties. When Boas died, his daughter Helen Reily and her husband assumed ownership and continued to expand the property to include a large dairy farm.