The economic prosperity enjoyed nationally throughout the 1920's was clearly not lost upon Harrisburg's downtown development. By the decade's climatic conclusion there would rise a new generation of buildings in the city - those not traditionally located at the hub of Market Square nor on Market Street, but instead farther north commanding the view and sharing the prestige of Capitol Park and the Main Capitol Building. So it was that local developer Frank Payne and contractor Raymond Shoemaker built in 1929 the robust art deco-styled high-rise at Third and Pine Streets which became and still is today, a desirable address for lawyers and lobbyists. Designed by noted Harrisburg architect Clayton Lappley and logically dubbed the Payne-Shoemaker Building, the structure preceded what could be considered its sister building to the south, the 19-story, also art deco-styled, Harrisburger Hotel which was completed in 1930. These building were to Harrisburg as New york City's Chrysler and Empire State Buildings were to Manhattan, all built at the same time during a period of frenzied development and standing as symbols to the economic exuberance at the end of the 1920's. The Payne-Shoemaker/Harrisburger Hotel grouping is also important because it represents that period when Harrisburg's skyline was dramatically pushed upward as necessitated by the rapid appreciation of its real estate, giving initial shape to the urbanized cityscape of today.
Circa 1932 postcard view of Payne-Shoemaker Building (right) and the Harrisburger Hotel (left).
1929 view of N. Third Street showing Payne-Shoemaker Building under construction (right-center) and excavation for the Harrisburger Hotel (foreground).