Franklin County Visitors Bureau Celebrates African American History with Learn & Explore Tour on February 25

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Franklin County Visitors Bureau celebrates Black History month with a Learn & Explore event on February 25, focusing on Joseph Winters and local fire history.

Inventor and Underground Railroad operative Joseph Winters is remembered with a marker of the Pennsylvania Historical & Museum Commission.

Franklin County Visitors Bureau is celebrating African American History Month at the Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center with an exhibit of well-known African American citizens of Franklin County. Highlighting the February remembrance is a Learn & Explore event on February 25, 9:30 AM to 3 PM, at the 11/30 Visitors Center. Chambersburg citizen Joseph Winters and his contributions are a key focus. Winters is well-known for his patented invention of the fire escape ladder. Participants will learn about Winters and the world in which he lived. Winters is also one of the organizers of the meeting between Frederick Douglass and John Brown, held on August 19-21, 1859. At this meeting, Brown revealed his plan to raid the federal arsenal at Harpers Ferry o Douglass.

Learn & Explore also includes a tour of the Chambersburg Fire Museum, organized in 1977. The tour includes multiple fire vehicles from different eras, including one apparatus used to put out the blaze of 1864, when Confederates fired the town after a ransom demand was not paid. Visitors will step back in time “to send a fire call and determine the location of the fire.” The museum shows the evolution of community fire service, from the first organized group in 1780 to the present.

New to the 11/30 Visitors Center’s African American history exhibit is a display to explain how the celebration commenced, evolving from a week-long recognition to the full month of February. President Gerald Ford officially recognized February as Black History Month during the American Bicentennial celebration “Freedom and the recognition of individual rights are what our Revolution was all about. They were ideals that inspired our fight for Independence: ideals that we have been striving to live up to ever since,” said President Ford. He added, “I urge my fellow citizens to join me in tribute to Black History Month and the message of courage and perseverance it brings to all of us.”

The Franklin County 11/30 Visitors Center invites you to celebrate on February 25. Tickets are $15/person or a two-person ticket for $25. Ticket includes lunch, booklets, and tours. Tickets are available here.

The Franklin County Visitors Bureau invites all to explore history, arts 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 from Washington DC, Philadelphia, and New York. For more information, visit or contact the Franklin County Visitors Bureau at 866.646.8060 for information and 11/30 Visitors Center activities.

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