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Fort Hunter Mansion and Park

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Built on a bluff overlooking the Susquehanna River, Fort Hunter Mansion and Park has served as a war fort, a hub for frontier commerce, and an exclusive private estate. Now preserved and open to the public, Fort Hunter Mansion and Park invites you to explore Pennsylvania's rich history.

Fort Hunter Park commands a magnificent view of the Susquehanna River and Blue Mountains beyond. It was originally settled in 1725 by Benjamin Chambers, who later founded Chambersburg. Samuel Hunter, Chamber's brother-in-law, inherited the well-favored property which included grist and saw mills. The bustling settlement thus became known as Hunter's Mill.
Faced with the mounting threat of the French and Indian War, the British built a series of small forts from Harris Ferry (Harrisburg) to Fort Augusta in Sunbury. Among these was Fort Hunter, ideally situated at a bend in the river, thereby serving as an alarm station and supply depot. The Fort was a 10′ by 14′ log blockhouse surrounded by a stockade and manned by volunteer soldiers, mostly farmers' sons.

In 1763, following the defeat of the Indian Nations, the Fort was left to decay. It was in 1787 that Captain Archibald McAllister, a dashing young officer who had served directly under General George Washington in the Revolutionary Army, bought the land. This holding included the abandoned fort, Hunter's mill, and farm.

Under his spirited leadership, McAllister's farm grew into a self-sufficient frontier village with grist and saw mills, country store, blacksmith shop, school, artisan's shops, a fine tavern and a most successful distillery. River landings permitted barges and other craft to anchor and the 1834 official opening of the Pennsylvania Canal encouraged a healthy trade.??Daniel Dick Boas, a prominent Harrisburg citizen, bought the property in 1870 and later willed it to his daughter Helen, and son-in-law, John W. Reily. For half a century the Reily dairy farm, graced with strutting peacocks and grazing sheep, was a familiar landmark and social center for Harrisburg.

As the Reilys had no children, they left the property to their nine nieces and nephews. One niece, Margaret Wister Meigs, of Washington, D.C. recognized the historical significance of the site. She had the foresight to buy the remaining shares and to establish the Fort Hunter Museum.

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Details and Specs

Hours of Operation:
Tue10:00 AM4:30 PM
Wed10:00 AM4:30 PM
Thr10:00 AM4:30 PM
Fri10:00 AM4:30 PM
Sat10:00 AM4:30 PM
Sun12:00 PM4:30 PM
Notes: Mansion closed December 23rd through April 30th.


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