Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward

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Harrisburg was the capital of an increasingly urban and progressive Pennsylvania at the turn of the twentieth century, with the remnants of an older, more diverse city thriving in its midst. As the streets were paved for the first time and the new state capitol building rose over a humming industrial city ready to embrace change, Harrisburg's Eighth Ward clung to its rambunctious past. When the "Old Eighth" stood in the way of the new Capitol Park, one journalist asked his readers to take a stroll through the streets one last time. J. Howard Wert's "Passing of the Old Eighth" articles-awash in images of decrepitude and vice-appeared in the Harrisburg Patriot in 1912-1913 and introduced readers to such cheats, fools, and boozers as Harry Cook and "Billy Jelly." This volume presents the complete series of 35 articles chronicling the adventures of people who lived through some of the most sweeping changes in American history. More than 100 photographs-most never before published-evoke Wert's tales of a turbulent Harrisburg now long gone. Through the captivating, rarely objective voice of turn-of-the-century journalism, readers visit vanished churchyards, stroll the halls of forgotten hotels, and walk with the ghosts of gangs through crumbling alleys to brothels, gambling dens, and speakeasies. No history of Harrisburg can match this one for detailed stories of the successes and scandals of the city's "good old days." Noted educator, journalist, and Civil War veteran J. Howard Wert's articles bring to life the colorful characters and day-to-day grit and drama of his time. By turns pious, hard-nosed, and folksy, Wert's prose veers wildly among literary modes but never fails to entertain. A melding of nineteenth-century moral sensibility and modern appreciation for progress makes this work as accessible to today's readers as it was to Wert's contemporaries.
ISBN: 9780738523781
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
State: Pennsylvania
Series: Making of America
Images: 200
Pages: 160
Dimensions: 6.75 (w) x 9.75 (h)
Collected and edited by Penn State University professors Michael Barton and Jessica Dorman, Harrisburg's Old Eighth Ward offers a detailed study of a single urban area at a time when America rushed headlong into the future.
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