Local History in Shippensburg

Home of Shippensburg Historical Society

We have a rich history here.  In the 1700’s this area was the frontier for wealthy people and not so wealthy ones from Philadelphia coming to the west to seek a new life.  There was a considerable amount of Indian problems as the white men invaded their territory. 

I’m a member of Shippensburg Historical Society, and we now have about 300 members who are interested in our heritage as one of the oldest towns in this area.  http://www.shippensburghistory.org/ Our Facebook Fan Page has a wealth of information about the group, the house which is our home, and many upcoming activities at Historical Soceity. http://www.facebook.com/ShippensburgHistoricalSociety?v=photos#!/ShippensburgHistoricalSociety

Our home is in the Dr. Alexander Stewart house, which was built in 1784.  The house is limestone as was the tradition of well-built houses during that time, and is one of the 3 or 4 oldest building in town still standing from that era.

I love to take visitors thru the house.  The walls are over a foot thick, since that’s the way stone houses were built in that era.  The stones act as good insulation and it takes a while for the inside of the house to warm up or cool down.  The gorgeous staircase than goes up the middle of the house was almost removed in a remodel until it was discovered that it’s structural, and could not be changed or removed.  It was then refinished and is a wonderful feature of this great structure.

The back addition was built on to the original house so that Dr. Stewart had a house big enough to entertain guests in a good style.  Also the large room on the right inside the house was originally 2 rooms, and he had it made into one so he had a large sitting room.

The house was originally two separate residences with two front entrances, and all that was changed during the remodeling also.  There are pictures posted in our library area showing what it looked like before and during the remodel. 

One special room upstairs holds the majority of Dr. Stewart’s  equipment from his medical practice.  He charged $8 for visits!  Some of the equipment looks very scary by today’s medical standards, but it was the technology of the time.  At the time he moved to Shippensburg, X-ray technology was just being used in some places, but not here yet.  So he went back to school and learned that technology, and became the first doctor to do X-rays at the Chambersburg Hospital.

I love to walk thru the house and try to imagine what it would have been like to have lived there, and during such earlier times.  Come and tour the Historical Society’s beautiful home on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday afternoons between 1 and 4. 

We have a huge amount of geneology information, obituaries, and volunteers who can help you with the research for finding out more about your family. Also, one of our members took considerable time and effort to create a computer program called 84 Cemetaries.  In that program there is a wealth of  information about 84 local cemetaries, some huge and some tiny, and it is very well-organized and user-friendly.

Come to the Historical Society and visit, or do research, or find a book of post cards and pictures of the area and just sit down and relax and enjoy.  The Shippensburg Historical Society and the whole area has a lot to offer you if you’re interested in local history.

2 responses to “Local History in Shippensburg

  1. Just want to say what a great blog you got here!
    I’ve been around for quite a lot of time, but finally decided to show my appreciation of your work!

    Thumbs up, and keep it going!

    Christian, iwspo.net

    • Well thanks! I’m glad you are enjoying it. Sometimes I just ramble on, but I enjoy it and try to keep it interesting. I’ll keep going!

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