Rebirth in Midtown Harrisburg

In Pennsylvania, Harrisburg is often known more as an symbol than a destination. As a result of the acrimony and intransigence that is the norm in the legislature, Pennsylvanians are apt to forget that this mid-state municipality is more than just the state capital. But for those willing to look past their preconceptions, there’s a compact city with considerable charms. Its population is even growing again, if slowly.

The Midtown neighborhood is often cited as an emblem of the city’s rebirth. But this small corner of Harrisburg has actually been drawing in young professionals, artists and historic preservation fanatics since at least the 1970s. In recent years, the number of entertainment and culinary options has expanded greatly, while the boundaries of the neighborhood have pushed outwards.

Midtown’s strength is built both on its proximity to the capitol and the fact that it didn’t have that far to bounce back. Although there are a few tracts that have been marred by vacancy and blight, the neighborhood’s stock of historic 19th and early 20th century rowhomes remain intact. Due to the waves of new residents — many of whom work at the adjacent state capitol building and its annexes — Midtown’s housing stock has experienced a steady stream of investment.