From impressive military memorials made to resemble a war-torn building to bronze effigies of our region’s founding fathers, these 10 statues, monuments, and memorials are part history, part art.
1. William Penn at the State Museum
We wouldn’t be Pennsylvania without William Penn! Honoring his vision of Pennsylvania, Memorial Hall at the center of the State Museum of Pennsylvania features a larger than life,18-foot-tall, bronze statue of Penn. You can walk right up to him and say hello, or take a photo sitting at his feet. Memorial Hall also features an eye-catching mural that depicts our state’s history and a 3D map of Pennsylvania’s terrain and mountain ranges.
2. Commonwealth at the State Capitol
Unlike the William Penn statue, this one you can’t get too close to. If you can believe it, they are just about the same height. Standing 17 feet tall atop the State Capitol building is Commonwealth, a gilded bronze lady who’s kept watch over the city since 1905. She holds a staff in her left hand while her right hand is outstretched blessing the state of Pennsylvania. If you think she looks familiar, dig in your pockets because she’s on our state quarter! The Commonwealth statue is just one of the beautiful works of art to adorn Pennsylvania’s Capitol Complex. Take a free public tour to see more monuments, paintings, and architecture inside the capitol building that President Teddy Roosevelt said was the most handsome building he’d ever seen.
3. Milton S. Hershey at Hersheypark
As a statue that needs no introduction, Milton S. Hershey welcomes guests into Hersheypark® at the fountain in Founder’s Way. Milton Hershey created Hersheypark in 1906 as a place for factory workers and their families to enjoy. To learn more about the man behind the candy bars, visit The Hershey Story, Museum on Chocolate Avenue. Photo courtesy of Hersheypark's Instagram: @hersheypark
4. Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Bridge
The State Street Bridge, or Soldiers and Sailors Memorial Bridge, offers travelers a welcoming view of the city of Harrisburg and the Capitol. Flanking the end of the bridge are two 145-foot pylons topped with eagles to represent the U.S. Army and the U.S. Navy.
5. Moment of Mercy Statue at the National Civil War Museum
In December of 1862 after a clash between the Union and Confederate troops at the Battle of Fredricksburg, Virginia, Sergeant Richard K. Kirkland of the South Carolina Infantry crossed enemy lines to deliver water to the injured and dying Union soldiers. The Union commanders opened fire, but when they realized he was merely a Good Samaritan from the other side, the battlefield was still for this moment of mercy. The statue sits outside the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, one of the largest in the world that’s dedicated solely to the American Civil War. A must see for any military history buff, the museum seeks to tell the story of the war from both sides of the battlefield.
6. Pennsylvania Veterans Memorial at Indiantown Gap
At Indiantown Gap National Cemetery in Annville, you can take a stroll along the fountains at the Pennsylvania Veterans’ Memorial in tribute of those who served our state and nation in the armed forces. The dramatic design of its walls symbolizes a war-torn building, and representation of air, land, and water signify the branches of the military and various battlefields in history. This memorial is the largest veterans’ memorial located in any of our national cemeteries. For more military history, explore the Pennsylvania National Guard Military Museum or pull over on Route 934 (Fisher Ave.) to check out the grounded helicopter displays.
7. Holocaust Memorial in Riverfront Park
The striking sculpture at the Holocaust Memorial in Riverfront Park is filled with symbolism and serves as a reminder of a dark chapter in world history. The memorial’s tall pillar in the center embodies the strength of the Jewish people, the twisted barbed wire represents the atrocities committed by the Nazis during World War II, and the height of the pillar indicates that the Jewish people continue to survive. Beyond the statue, visitors can take in peaceful views of the Susquehanna River.
8. Fireman’s Memorial Statue in Riverfront Park
Just a few yards away from the Holocaust Memorial stands a memorial to honor the valiant service of Harrisburg firemen who fought for our nation in World War I. If you’re interested in the history of firefighting, spend an hour at the Pennsylvania National Fire Museum browsing their antique fire trucks and equipment.
9. Statue of Liberty in the Susquehanna River
You might be wondering why our region has a mini Statue of Liberty, standing 25 feet tall in the middle of the Susquehanna River. Well, that’s a good story! The statue appeared mysteriously overnight in 1986 and captured the eyes and hearts of residents and visitors alike. When she blew over in a storm in 1992, fans rallied to erect a replica statue. If you can handle a kayak in moderately rough waters, you can paddle out to greet her. Everyone else can catch a glimpse of her while driving along the Dauphin Narrows on 322.
10. Businessman in Riverfront Park
The businessman that’s reading the evening paper is a work of art known as “Waiting,” and he’s been waiting in Riverfront Park at State Street since 1985. Take a seat next to him for a selfie or group shot – he’s excellent at holding a pose.