Chambersburg is a borough in the South Central region of Pennsylvania,
United States. It is 13 miles north of Maryland and the Mason-Dixon line
and 52 miles southwest of Harrisburg in the Cumberland Valley, which is
part of the Great Appalachian Valley. Chambersburg is the county seat
of Franklin County. The United States Census Bureau estimates the
population within the borough limits as of July 1, 2008, as 18,302. When
combined with the surrounding Greene, Hamilton, and Guilford Townships,
the population of Greater Chambersburg is 52,273. Chambersburg is at
the core of the Chambersburg Micropolitan Statistical Area which
includes surrounding Franklin County. The population of the Chambersburg
Micropolitan Area in 2008 was 143,495.
Chambersburg's settlement began in 1730 when water mills were built at the confluence of Conococheague Creek and Falling Spring Creek that now run through the center of the town. Its history includes episodes related to the French and Indian War, the Whiskey Rebellion, John Brown's raid on Harpers Ferry, and the American Civil War. The borough was the only major northern community burned down by Confederate forces during the war.
Native Americans living or hunting in the area during the 18th
century included the Iroquois, Lenape and Shawnee. "Falling Spring" was
first settled by Benjamin Chambers, a Scots-Irish immigrant, in 1730,
who started a grist mill and saw mill by a then-26-foot (7.9 m) high
waterfall where Falling Spring Creek joined Conococheague Creek. The
creek provided power to the mills, and the settlement was known as
On March 30, 1734, Chambers was issued a "Blunston license" for 400 acres (1.6 km2), from a representative of the Penn family, but European settlement in the area was of questionable legality until the treaty ending the French and Indian War, because not all Indian tribes with land claims had signed treaties. The Penn family encouraged settlement in the area in order to strengthen its case in a border dispute with the Maryland Colony, which had resulted in hostilities known as Cresap's War. This dispute was not settled until 1767 and the surveying of the border known as the Mason-Dixon line. Chambers traveled to England to testify in support of Penn's claims. To maintain peace with the Indians, European settlers were sometimes removed from the nearby area. In May 1750, Benjamin Chambers participated in removing settlers from nearby Burnt Cabins, which took its name from the incident.
The area was officially part of Chester County, then Lancaster, and then Cumberland until it became part of the newly established Franklin County in 1784.
The Great Wagon Road connecting Philadelphia with the Shenandoah Valley passed nearby. In 1744, it was completed through Harris's Ferry, Carlisle, Shippensburg, and Chambersburg to the Potomac River.
In 1748 a local militia was formed for protection against Indians, with Benjamin Chambers being named colonel.
Chambersburg was on the frontier during the French and Indian War. The area's population dropped from about 3,000 in 1755 at the start of the war to about 300, with most settlers not returning until after 1764 when the peace treaty was signed. Benjamin Chambers built a private stone fort during the war, which was equipped with two 4 pounder cannons and fighting occurred nearby. Because Chambers's fort was otherwise lightly defended, the authorities attempted to remove the cannons to prevent them from being captured by Indians and used against other forts. The attempted removal was unsuccessful, and one of the cannons was used to celebrate Independence Day in 1840. The Forbes Road and other trails going to Fort Pitt passed nearby as well. The Forbes Road developed into part of the main road connecting Pittsburg and Philadelphia, and much later into US 30, and Chambersburg developed as a transportation hub at the crossroads of Forbes Road and the Great Wagon Road.
Fighting continued in the area after the war, most notably the Enoch Brown school massacre during Pontiac's Rebellion and the Black Boys rebellion against British troops at Fort Loudon.
The first settlers were Scots-Irish Presbyterians and German Protestants came soon afterward. Quakers and English Protestants, who made up a large proportion of early Pennsylvania settlers, did not often move as far west as Chambersburg. Blacks lived in Chambersburg almost from the start of settlement. Benjamin Chambers owned a black female slave sometime before the French and Indian War and twenty slaves were recorded as taxable property in 1786.
The earliest church was established by Scots-Irish Presbyterians in 1734. Chambers gave land to the congregation in 1768, requiring only a single rose as annual rent. Later land was given to the First Lutheran Church (1780) and Zion Reformed Church (organized in 1780) under the same agreement, and these churches came to be known as the "Rose Rent Churches." A Catholic community organized in 1785. The Jewish cemetery dates back to 1840. The Mt. Moriah First African Baptist Church dates to 1887.
The town was first laid out in 1764, and lots were advertised for sale on July 19 in Benjamin Franklin's Pennsylvania Gazette In June 1775, soon after the Battle of Lexington, local troops were raised to fight the British in the American Revolution under the command of Benjamin Chambers's eldest son Captain James Chambers, as part of the 1st Pennsylvania Regiment. These troops were among the first non-New Englanders to join the siege of Boston, arriving on August 7, 1775. James Chambers fought for seven years during the revolution, reaching the rank of Colonel of Continental troops on September 26, 1776. His two brothers, William and Benjamin, Jr., each served for much of the war and reached the rank of Captain. James Chambers commanded local troops at the Battle of Long Island, and at White Plains, Trenton, Princeton, Brandywine, Germantown and Monmouth. He was part of the rear guard covering the retreat from Brooklyn, and was wounded at the Battle of Brandywine while facing Hessian troops under General Knuphausen at Chadds Ford.
During the Whiskey Rebellion, local citizens raised a liberty pole in support of the rebels, and to protest conscription of soldiers to put down the rebellion. Nevertheless, these citizens were censured in a town meeting and removed the pole the next day. President George Washington, while leading United States troops against the rebels, came through town on the way from Carlisle to Bedford, staying overnight on October 12, 1794. According to tradition, Washington lodged with Dr. Robert Johnson, a surgeon in the Pennsylvania line during the Revolution. This march was one of only two times that a sitting president personally commanded the military in the field. (The other was after President James Madison fled the British occupation of Washington, D.C. during the War of 1812.) After sending the troops toward Pittsburgh from Bedford under General Henry "Light Horse Harry" Lee, Washington returned through Chambersburg sometime between October 21–26. James Chambers was appointed a Brigadier General of Militia during the Whiskey Rebellion.
Chambersburg was incorporated on March 21, 1803, and declared the County Seat when the State Assembly established a formal government. The first courthouse was John Jack's tavern on the Diamond (town square) in 1784, with a permanent courthouse built in 1793, and the first county jail built 1795. The "Old Jail" was built in 1818, survived the fire of 1864 and is the oldest jail building in Pennsylvania. It was originally used as the sheriff's residence and had the longest continuous use of any jail in the state, operating until 1971. Today the Old Jail is a museum and home to the Franklin County - Kittochtinny Historical Society. The county's gallows still stand in the jail's courtyard.
Much of the town's growth was due to its position as a transportation center, first as the starting point on the Forbes Road to Pittsburgh. The U.S. Congress placed Chambersburg on the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh postal road in 1803. The road was rebuilt as the Chambersburg-Bedford Turnpike in 1811. The Cumberland Valley Railroad was built in 1837 and was the area's center of economic activity for nearly 100 years. Until the completion of the Pennsylvania Railroad's main line in 1857, the fastest route from Pittsburgh to Philadelphia was by stagecoach from Pittsburgh to Chambersburg, and then by train to Philadelphia.
Attractions & Activities
The Old Jail
built in 1818, was one of the few buildings to survive the burning of Chambersburg by Confederate Forces in 1864. This place was also a stop on the underground railroad. Tours are available.
Chambersburg Heritage Center
An interpretive center for Franklin County, located in a
renovated 1915 marble bank building. Learn about American Indian
tribes, the Civil War, transportation history and more.
Majestic Ridge Golf Course
Opened in April of 1993, Majestic Ridge Golf Club is an 18 hole championship design. The architect, David Horn, created this 6800 yard layout from the rolling hills of south central Pennsylvania. The golf course gets its name from the scenic beauty of the nearby Tuscarora mountains and the endless breathtaking views from the surrounding countryside.
Your one stop fun provider for the family in Chambersburg offering mini golf, go karts, batting cages arcades, snack café and catering birthday parties
Parks & Recreation