Located in this building at Mulberry and Crescent Streets was what became known as the "Switchboard of America," the printing business and national clearinghouse operation of J. Horace McFarland (1859-1948), one of Harrisburg's most famous national figures during the first half of the 20th Century. McFarland, who went into the seed catalogue printing business as a young man in the 1880's, moved his operation to this site in 1889. McFarland was devoted to the sensitive stewardship of the natural and man-made environments and to civic advancement. In 1902, he and Myra Lloyd Dock rallied support for the comprehensive development of the city's parks and public works systems which became known as the City Beautiful Movement. Most notably he spearheaded nationwide efforts, through his founding and 20-year presidency (1904-1924) of the American Civic Association, to save Niagara Falls from power company exploitation and to advance many urban planning and community improvement initiatives using successes in Harrisburg as the national model. Known as the Father of the National Park Service through his advocacy for its establishment during the President Woodrow Wilson Administration, he was a preeminent gardener who wrote extensively and was the principal promoter of the cultivation of roses in America as President of the American Rose Society (1930-32). McFarland's legacy embodied the advancement of the country's Progressive Era. It was in this building that the organizations which he led were nationally headquartered and where the publications advancing his cause across the United States were printed. Later closed with the building falling into disuse and decline, the site has been restored to residential units and a cultural center as part of City renewal efforts. The adaptive reuse of the site won top national and state historic preservation awards.
1929 view of the Press' employees at the building's Crescent Street entrance. McFarland is fourth from left on balcony.