Franklin County Visitor Bureau Sets April 16 Spring into History Tour: Over The Mountain

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Join the Franklin County Visitors Bureau for a tour of more than 200 years of South Mountain history.

Over the Mountain is a Spring Into History Tour exploring more than 200 years of history on South Mountain.

The South Mountain is a special landscape It fed the iron ore industry and sheltered escaping enslaved. It saw the strife of Civil War and was reborn through Pennsylvania's conservation movement. Life on the mountain is the story of small communities across America. Visit a general store museum, a town where John Brown taught Sunday school, learn how Pennsylvania led the conservation movement, and see Smokey the Bear in many shapes and sizes.

The April 16 tour begins at the Monterey Pass Battlefield Museum, Franklin County's newest museum, interpreting and exhibit artifacts from the Battle of Monterey Pass and show the Civil Waris impact on Franklin County. The Battle of Monterey Pass was fought along a mountain ridge in a blinding thunderstorm during the middle of the night on July 4th and in the early hours of July 5th, 1863--just one day after the Battle of Gettysburg. It spilled into Maryland and is the only battle to be fought on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line.

Next on the tour is the Preserving Our Heritage Archives and Museum. The 10-mile trip across South Mountain will show the landscape frontiersmen, slaves, and Civil War soldiers traversed. Preserving Our Heritage Archives and Museum is in a one-room schoolhouse and is dedicated to educating the public about Quincy Township, Mont Alto, and the greater Waynesboro area. It has an archive of the Mont Alto Forestry School and Mont Alto Ironworks and a collection of original newspapers from 1850 to 1923. The site also offers a relocated 1930 - 1950 general store.

Enjoy a box lunch in the pavilion of the historic Mont Alto State Park. The Park is the oldest state park in Pennsylvania and the pavilion was once the site of many turn-of-the-twentieth century dances.

The next stop is Emmanuel chapel on the campus of Penn State Mont Alto. The chapel constructed in 1854 is a site where historians believe John Brown taught Sunday school and worshipped in the building shortly before his historic raid on Harpers Ferry. John Cook, one of his Brown's raiders, was captured just steps from the chapel. Ironically, John Brown taught Sunday School and worshipped here. The chapel was purchased in 1922 and renovated by Penn State.

Traveling a mile north on PA 233 is the Mont Alto Historical Society. It is housed in Mont Alto Borough Hall, a somewhat octagonal building constructed with exposed logs. On display are artifacts of Mont Alto--a small town with a big history. Mont Alto, originally named Funkstown and later Alto Dale, was best known for the Mont Alto Iron Works, which employed 500 people in 1872.

The final stop on the tour is the PA Forest Fire Museum at Caledonia State Park. The museum is dedicated to preserving and showcasing the heritage of forest fire protection and honoring Pennsylvania's pioneers in forest stewardship. With displays and interactive exhibits, visitors can trace the past and point to the future of forestry while enjoying a variety of Smokey Bear keepsakes, such as lunch boxes and salt and pepper shakers.

Over the Mountain: Two Centuries of American History is one of four Spring into History Tours that will take place on April 16, 2016. Details are available at

The Franklin County Visitor Bureau invites all to explore Franklin County PA and enjoy the trails of history, art and architecture, recreation, natural beauty, fresh foods and the warm hospitality of communities like Chambersburg, Greencastle, Mercersburg, Shippensburg, and Waynesboro. Franklin County PA is located just north of the Mason Dixon Line and is an easy drive to Washington DC, Philadelphia, and Pittsburgh. Discover more...plan a visit soon at

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Janet Pollard

Lauren Cappuccio
Ben Franklin
since: 04/2013
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