Society History

Market Square Presbyterian Church
Market Square
Presbyterian Church

The Historical Society of Dauphin County was founded on May 10, 1869 at a meeting in the Market Square Presbyterian Church. It held its early meetings in the 1860 Dauphin County Courthouse. In 1900 the County Commissioners assigned the Society one of the larger jury rooms in the courthouse annex where collections were housed and exhibited. In 1908, William A. Kelker bequeathed to the Society the Kelker family's brownstone residence at 9 South Front Street. Along with its many collections, the house was to be used as a museum. The Society was housed in this splendid home until Dauphin County acquired the property as a site for the new Courthouse which was erected about 1941.

The Stable Building in the 1950's
The Stable Building in the 1950's

On April 1st of that same year, the heirs of Simon Cameron deeded their property at 219 South Front Street to the Society for permanent use as a museum and archives. The property included the Mansion, Carriage House, and Stable. In 1987, the Stable building behind the Mansion was converted to house the Society's Office, Library and Archives. The Carriage House is often used for our educational programs.