The Historical Society of Dauphin County will present the 9th annual public reading of the Declaration of Independence on Thursday, July 4, from the porch of the John Harris-Simon Cameron Mansion at 219 S. Front Street, Harrisburg. The Declaration will be read by John Harris, Jr., portrayed by reenactor David Biser.
Readings will take place on the hour at 10:00am, 11:00am, and noon.
There is no fee to hear the readings and free parking is available behind the Mansion and in the UPMC Hospital parking garage.
Tours of the Harris-Cameron Mansion will be offered after each reading at a special price of $4.00. HSDC members, children 6 and under, and any police, fire, first responder and military members and their families will be admitted free. There will also be free activities for kids.
On July 4, 1776, the Second Continental Congress voted to approve the Declaration of Independence inside the Pennsylvania State House (now Independence Hall). The Declaration was printed during the late afternoon by John Dunlap, a local Philadelphia printer. Congress ordered that copies be sent out and that it be proclaimed in each of the new United States. By the next morning, copies were on their way to all 13 states by horseback.
Four days later, on July 8th, the citizens of Philadelphia were summoned to the State House Yard by the bells of the city. At 12:00 noon, Colonel John Nixon publicly read the Declaration of Independence for the first time. When a copy arrived at Harrisburg, city founder John Harris, Jr. read it to the assembled crowd from the porch of his house along the Susquehanna River.