Built in 1876 and named the Centennial Barn in modern times, this building housed John Reily’s budding dairy milk business. Constructed with Gothic Revival details in typical German bank barn form, the structure graciously housed the 19th-century Fort Hunter Dairy.
Today the Centennial Barn is used as a community meeting center which may be rented for weddings, meetings, and parties.Reservation Information
Called “The Practical Farmer,” the Tavern House was built around 1800 to sell Captain McAllister’s brandies and whiskies, to accommodate overnight travelers, and to serve as a community center for surrounding farmers. Later, it was home to the Dairy’s milking crew and farm hands.
The exterior is restored to the period of about 1870. The interior houses a meeting room and offices for Dauphin County Parks and Recreation.
Everhart Covered Bridge was originally built around 1881 to span Little Buffalo Creek in Oliver Township, Perry County and was known as the Everhart Covered Bridge. When Mrs. Margaret Wister Meigs, the preserver of Fort Hunter, heard of its planned replacement by the Highway Department in 1941 she simply bought the bridge to save it. She had it dismantled and placed on the front lawn of the Mansion as a park attraction, where it sat for forty years. By 1980 the bridge had deteriorated. It was dismantled and placed in storage. When the gift of the park was made in 1980, it was understood by all parties that all of the historic structures would eventually be restored, including the covered bridge.
In 2006 after years of planning, the bridge was recreated and located on the northeastern edge of the park. The original elements proved invaluable in recreating the current bridge.
This 153 acre Conservancy of wooded mountain land was donated to Fort Hunter in 1986 by Dr. J. Wister Meigs. The son of museum founder Margaret Wister Meigs, he wanted to maintain this nature area in perpetuity. Of the old 900 acre estate, this was the furthest tract from the Mansion. Originally called the Chucky Hill tract, it is no longer contiguous to the Fort Hunter Park property.
The conservancy is located adjacent the Mansion property on Fishing Creek Valley Road and is open to the public for day hiking only. No overnight camping or fires are permitted. Such activities as birding and enjoying the local flora and fauna are suggested. Because of the proximity to State Game Lands, use extreme caution during hunting season. Be sure to download a Conservancy Map. GPS – Longitude 76.898802, Latitude 40.354325
From US 22/322, exit at Route 443 and proceed east about 1 mile. Turn left onto Camp Reily Road. This is a one-lane dirt road so proceed with caution. Drive past two YWCA camp entrances. The road ends in a gravel parking lot with a trail head consisting of a platform. Beyond is a private residence, DO NOT BLOCK PRIVATE DRIVEWAY.
Heckton Church was built in 1885 on land donated by the Henrietta P. McAllister, widow of a grandson of the builder of the Mansion. Heckton Methodist Church was damaged by fire in 1927, the interior reflects some alterations from that time.
In 2003 the church had been without a congregation for two years when the Conference Board of Trustees of the Central Pennsylvania Conference of the United Methodist Church agreed to donate it to Fort Hunter Park. Fort Hunter and the County of Dauphin are pleased to have the opportunity to preserve another local landmark.
The church stood in the flood plain of the Susquehanna River near the mouth of Fishing Creek for over one hundred years. In that time, floods had damaged it significantly several times. In 2009 Fort Hunter moved the church to the southern end of the park to protect it from further flooding.
As a result of the relocation, for the first time since its construction in 1885 the church has running water, a bathroom and is handicap accessible—but little else has changed.
Built in 1929, the Fort Hunter Service Station/Tourist Camp was owned and operated by the Martin family and served the communities between Harrisburg and Amity Hall. In the early days of the automobile, people traveled for pleasure to see the countryside. The gas station and tourist accommodations were part of this growing phenomenon.
In 1946 the Martins renovated the station to include a coffee shop, gift and antique shop. The Martins sold the station in 1955 to Areo Oil Company, who leased it to the Neidig family. The Neidigs carried Atlantic products and operated the station until 1963, when planning was underway to reduce the traffic on Front Street.
The station ceased being a service station and has had a variety of uses over the years, one of which was a bait shop in an adjacent building. In 2009 Dauphin County purchased the land and buildings for their preservation and public use at Fort Hunter.
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