When it opened amidst regalia and fanfare in the fall of 1990, the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers reclaimed Harrisburg's traditional role as Central Pennsylvania's primary destination for the lodging and conference industry. Although plans for a major new hotel were advanced as early as 1974, it was not until the mid-1980's that concreted efforts were made, under the leadership of the City of Harrisburg, to muster the resources required to engage in such a major undertaking. the northeast quadrant of Market Square had been prominent since the town's founding in 1785, particularly as it faced the old market houses located in the center of the Square that were the borough's primary source of commerce and trade. A row of brick residences and weather-boarded log houses soon gave way to the developing commercial center. Early to be established here were Harrisburg's first post office, the Russ Fish and Produce Market, and the studios of Civil War-era photographer LaRue Lemer. John and Francis Wyeth, offspring of John Wyeth Sr.,who had established Harrisburg's first newspaper in 1792, operated a drug store and bookstore here. The block would later become home to the Harrisburg Patriot-News, at 11 N. Second Street, until its present headquarters on Market Street was completed in 1953. Other attractions such as the popular Senate Theater and Caplan's Department Store would rise here. Having undergone several generations of development from its humble beginnings, Market Square's northeastern quadrant is now occupied by just one building. With 341 rooms, one of the largest ballrooms in Central Pennsylvania, fine restaurants, and enclosed walkway linkage to other downtown attractions, the Hilton Harrisburg and Towers has also been a catalyst to Harrisburg's growing after hours entertainment industry.
Circa 1895 view of the northeast quadrant of Market Square.
1880's view of the northeast corner of Second and Market Streets showing LaRue Lemer's Photographic Studio
Circa 1925 view of the northeast quadrant of Market Square with Caplan's Building, center.