Friday, September 12, 2014

Fort Hunter Mansion

Some of our sightseeing trips are only a day long, like when we visited the Fort Hunter mansion just north of Harrisburg.  The mansion was built on the site of the old French and Indian War Fort Hunter.  Archaeologists are currently working to find the exact site of the fort.

In 1814, Captain Archibald McAllister built the federal style mansion we see today by adding on to his original cabin built in 1786.

The home was quite elegant for such a rural location and the flying staircase was most unusual in a building so far from the city.

This room was where the family spent most of their free time together.

Hubby certainly made himself comfortable there.  Yes, he had permission to sit on the furniture.

Across the hall, the parlor was reserved for important visitors.

The mansion stayed in the McAllister family until 1870 when it was sold to a new family.

The second floor has a master bedroom .............

.............with it's own sitting room.

The last people to call Fort Hunter "home" were Helen and John Reily.  They never had children of their own but had nine nieces and nephews who eventually inherited the property.  To entertain the children when they visited, the Reilys created a play area on the 2nd floor landing with lots and lots of toys.

One of the nieces managed to preserve the property, including it's collections of furniture, toys, clothing and carriages, and open a museum.

Of course, those beloved nieces and nephews had to have rooms to stay in.

The two guest rooms are located on the second floor too.

I wouldn't mind staying in this room myself.  However, I would miss indoor plumbing and electricity.  The mansion didn't have either one until the 1930s.  It still doesn't have central heat, or air, either so it closes during the winter months.

Did you miss the dining room?  That's because in those days people simply didn't have them.  Drop leaf tables were located in sitting areas and meals were taken there.  This practice was very practical because whole rooms didn't need to be heated for the sole purpose of eating.  Opinion is divided about whether this portion of the older house was ever used for dining or just a work space for the servants.

Servants cooked over an open fire.  The second leading cause of death for women in those days (following childbirth) was fire.  That's why they wore primarily woolen skirts.  They were harder to catch on fire.

Kitchen work was labor intensive in those days!

We thoroughly enjoyed our one day trip to Fort Hunter.  Last weekend we took another four day weekend and visited Connecticut.  That's going to take a while to post about!


  1. Dear Candy, Hope all is well and you have a terrific week-end. I'm looking forward to 'the week-end!'
    This post was a treat for me. Like everything you shared! Dolls, miniature dishes and doll houses then the beautiful interior of this house was a delight to see. You see the neatest places. Sure enjoy seeing. Blessings, d