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Simon Cameron House- John Harris Mansion

Simon Cameron House- John Harris Mansion

219 South Front Street
Harrisburg
, PA 17104

CALL:  717-233-3462
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Simon Cameron House, also known as John Harris Mansion and the Harris Cameron Mansion is a site in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. The structure is one of the oldest buildings in Harrisburg and has undergone numerous additions and significant renovations since it was first constructed in 1766. The house and family items were donated to the Historical Society of Dauphin County in 1941 and is open for tours from April through December.It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1975. It is located in the Harrisburg Historic District.HistoryThe story of the Mansion begins in the early 18th century with the arrival of John Harris, Sr., the first European immigrant to this area. John, Sr. was an associate of the Penn family, and he received a land grant as an inducement to come here. The Penns wanted Harris to establish good relations with the local Indians and to facilitate the settlement of the central and western portions of the Penns' colony.Upon his arrival, Harris built a house and trading post on the bank of the river. He was successful in establishing good relations with the local tribe. In a few years, as more settlers began to arrive, Harris started to operate a ferry service to aid travelers during times of high water levels in the river. This was the origin of the Harrisburg area as the crossroads of the state.John Harris, Sr. continued to operate his businesses successfully until his death in 1748. He is buried across the street in a small fenced area. Upon his father's death, John Harris, Jr. inherited his businesses and continued to operate them with success.About 1766, after the end of the French and Indian War, John, Jr. decided that it was about time for his family to have a more substantial house than the one that his father had built. The old home's location by the river had meant that the family had to leave during the periodic flooding. From this experience, John, Jr. knew that the river had never reached the top of a certain rise of ground, even during the worst floods. So he chose the current site and had the front section of the house built with locally quarried limestone.

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