The Penn-Harris Hotel at Night

Like a giant game of Tetris

This is an unused Curteich “C. T. Art-Colortone” card, number 1B-H723, manufactured in 1941 and coming to us from the collection of Kay Anthony.  The back of the card bears no description. I especially like the radio tower at the top of the building; it was probably the tallest construction in the city at the time.

Located at southeast corner of North Third and Walnut Streets in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, the hotel had 14 stories and was constructed in 1918.  The original building on this site, the four-story YWCA, was built in 1914 and was demolished after only four years in favor of the hotel.

Sadly, the hotel itself was demolished in 1978 to make way for Strawberry Square, a million-square-foot office and shopping complex.

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2 Responses

  1. Eddy says:

    Et oui, encore une construction typiquement Americaine du début 20ème siècle.
    En France à la même époque, nous ne faisions pas aussi grand dans l’architecture.
    Il n’y a qu’a voir à New-York le Flatiron building…

    Editor’s Translation: Ah yes, another typical American construction of the early 20th century. In France during the same period, we were not as good at architecture. Just look at the Flatiron Building in New York…

  2. Marc says:

    The radio tower was for WKBO, an AM broadcasting station. The station began life broadcasting from the Penn-Harris Hotel, later moving to other locations around the city. The company had many incarnations throughout the 20th century, declining after the FM band became preferred for music broadcasting. WKBO is presently a Christian programs station broadcasting at AM 1230 band.

    The Penn-Harris Hotel was difficult to demolish in 1973 because of its reinforced concrete construction. (Itself owing to the previous devastating fire at Third and Walnut Sts., which destroyed the Penn-Harris predecessor, the Harrisburg Opera House and Masonic Lodge.) In early use of controlled demoliton through implosion, a 14-story addition to the original hotel pivoted on one corner during the demolition, falling westward and destroying three small buildings that had not been part of the contract, conveniently clearing the remainder of the quarter-block for erection of the Bell Telephone tower of Strawberry Square.

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