Not to be confused with the government infused capital of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, North Carolina is a bit more relaxed than the hectic city that bears the same name to the north. Harrisburg, North Carolina doesn’t have much to do with the state government but that certainly doesn’t mean it’s not worth visiting. In fact, it may be more enjoyable than any other Harrisburg in the country! This is due mostly to the fact that it is a perfect place to kick your feet up and breathe in some of that fresh air just far enough away from the large cities to escape the bustle.
The history of Harrisburg goes back to around 1732, as this is the approximate date that the first settlers seemed to arrive in the area. Back then, the town was known as Query’s Quarter. In 1791, George Washington, who had been elected as the first president of the United States of America about two years prior, recorded in his diary that he had passed through while visiting the southern states. It was called Query’s Quarter until around the 1850’s when it was then called Harris Depot in homage to the man who had owned the land that the railway stop had been purchased. When the post office was built in 1874, the final name of Harrisburg was adopted and has stayed that way for the past 144 years.
Harrisburg has seen many changes over the years since it was first named. From the railway to N.C. 15 and now to highway 49, the center of town has been moved multiple times. While there have been many, many stores that have filled the town throughout the decades, each one has been unique in its own way. Long gone are the blacksmith shops and textile mills, but each has left their mark on the colorful history of such an incredible town.
Harrisburg also has an incredible history in public services. One of the doctors that called the town home in the 1920’s donated land to construct a firehouse which helped to form the first volunteer rural firefighting unit in Cabarrus County as well as the first female EMTs that were certified in the entire state of North Carolina! Unfortunately, tragedy had to strike before these programs were put in place. A large fire destroyed a popular hotel along the main road which naturally caused some economic changes to the town. Thankfully, however, change came swiftly and it was realized just how important these public services are. In fact, there are now two different fire stations in Harrisburg with 24 firefighters who serve over 30 square miles and more than 27,000 people in Harrisburg along with other towns. Mutual aid between Harrisburg Fire Department and the City of Concord, Jackson Park, Robinson, and more is provided by these incredible people.
Between 1930 and the 1980’s, the town of Harrisburg evolved quickly. The first electricity was introduced to the town in 1930, the first gas line was installed in the late 1960’s, and the first traffic light in town was put in place in 1978. In 1973, the North Carolina General Assembly officially incorporated the Town of Harrisburg. The building used for Town Hall finished construction in 1980 and the waste water system was put in place in 1985. All of these changes meant the modernization of Harrisburg, and yet the town never lost its historic roots in the process.
Harrisburg is arguably one of the most beautiful small towns in all of North Carolina. The history and natural beauty of the town has been emphasized by the creation of hiking paths, greenways, bike paths, and other recreational opportunities. This helps to promote the small town feel that Harrisburg provides despite its relation to larger towns like Charlotte and Concord. Located between the two of them, Harrisburg is the perfect place to live while still being close enough to work in either of these large cities if you prefer to get home at night and breathe a little easier away from the hectic nature that the larger areas often develop. This is one of the many reasons that Harrisburg has started to blossom into a town that more and more people are trying to move into.
Although it is nice to keep that small town feel, it certainly doesn’t hurt when some tourism helps the local economy out a bit. Right now, Harrisburg is mostly focused on being so close to cities that already have solid tourist draws but don’t promote any of their own. This is something that can be easily changed if you are looking to bring more people into your town and helping to sustain the flow of money which allows Harrisburg to keep up its infrastructure. Give us a call and we can explore the options you have to help people realize just how great a town Harrisburg, North Carolina is!