Market Square During the Civil War

By the 1860s, many railroad lines met in Harrisburg. Agricultural products, industrial raw materials, and factory-finished goods moved through Harrisburg on the way to every part of the nation. Throughout the Civil War, the Union Army depended on the city as a hub for transporting troops and supplies.

Harrisburg's economic and cultural life centered on Market Square. The Jones House, on the southeast corner of Second and Market Streets, was the city's foremost hotel, providing accommodations for the Prince of Wales, Tom Thumb, President Andrew Johnson, General Ulysses S. Grant, and Admiral David Farragut. Surviving buildings from the Civil War in the area include the former Dauphin Deposit Bank's classical Greek temple and the Market Square Presbyterian Church, with its 193-foot spire.

On February 22, 1861, President-elect Abraham Lincoln stopped in Harrisburg on the way to his inauguration, and spoke to a joint session of the legislature in the capitol. Having been warned of an assassination plot in Baltimore, Lincoln left the Jones House and traveled secretly by train overnight from Harrisburg to Washington. Depicted as a coward in the press, Lincoln would expose himself to danger throughout the remainder of the war, until he was assassinated at Ford's Theatre.