About Us


Visiting Mechanicsburg Museum Association

Please Note: As we react to the pandemic, open buildings and hours are restricted and changing.  Please check the Home Page for current information.



freight station

The Passenger Station, Stationmaster's House, and Freight Station are close together in one complex. The driving directions lead you to the freight station. Directions Free parking is available at the Freight Station, including handicap parking. Enter the lot from North Market Street. There is more free parking available at the borough lot just west of the museum on Strawberry Alley, as well as plenty of on-street parking in the area. The Passenger Station and Freight Station are both handicap accessible.   Admission is free for normal exhibits. The Frankenberger Tavern is a short walk east of the complex, on Main Street. The walk goes by historic buildings such as the former American House Hotel, Union Church, built in 1825, and Washington Fire Hall, with a number of historic items on display in back. There is also parking beside the tavern, at Frankeberger Place. Please check the home page for current open buildings and hours. Admission is free. The Washington Street Station is a few blocks west of the main complex, a short distance north of Main Street. Free on-street parking is available. There is no food or drink available in the museum buildings, but there are restaurants within a short walk on Main Street, and many more within a short drive. Ask any of our museum docents for specifics. For other local attractions, food, and lodging info, check out our links.

Links

Winter Weather


For the safety of our volunteers, the museum will be closed when the Mechanicsburg Area School District closes for weather. We will also close for snow or ice on Saturdays or during Sunday events.

Contact Us


Mechanicsburg Museum Association 2 Strawberry Alley Mechanicsburg, PA 17055
Phone: (717) 697-6088
E-mail: mechanicsburgmuseum@gmail.com

Our Organization


The Mechanicsburg Museum Association was founded in 1975 in a community effort to preserve the Stationmaster’s House, a historic Mechanicsburg landmark, from destruction. Since its founding, the Association has preserved and promoted Mechanicsburg’s unique history with educational programs, gallery exhibits, and by acquiring four more historic buildings in the area. The MMA owns and preserves four Mechanicsburg buildings built by the Cumberland Valley Railroad: The 1866 Stationmaster's House, The 1886 Freight Station, The 1867 Passenger Station and the 1899 Washington Street Station. The buildings are open to the public during regular museum hours and at special events, such as Jubilee Day, and other community celebrations. The 1801 Frankenberger Tavern, Mechanicsburg's oldest known building, is open seasonally and for special events. Admission is free to all normal exhibits. Our main office is located in the Passenger Station at 2 West Strawberry Alley, with exhibits on Mechanicsburg's history and Cumberland Valley Railroad history. The Freight Station houses changing exhibits, the Museum Store, and museum archives. The Stationmaster's House is furnished as it might have been when new, as a glimpse of life in the 1860s. The Washington Street Station is a small building with exhibits viewed through the windows. The Frankenberger Tavern is furnished as it might have been in the early 1800s. The Mechanicsburg Museum Association was incorporated as a non-profit corporation in 1976.

Mission


  • To collect and preserve material to establish or illustrate the history of Mechanicsburg and provide for its accessibility of the community and surrounding area.
  • To develop educational programs for all ages and disseminate information in prepared programs/guest lecturers
  • To restore significantly historic buildings
  • To establish and maintain exhibits in keeping with the theme of local history and development

2021 Board of Directors


  • Frankie Hensel: President
  • Linda Willis: Vice President
  • Sandy Showers: Treasurer
  • Faith Matthews: Recording Secretary
  • Christine Dixon
  • Cheryl Hoke
  • Pat Berkheimer
  • Pam Weaver
  • Dennis Rehm
  • Virginia Herring
  • Gary Weber
  • John Klinger
  • Beverly Bone

Staff

  • Steven B. Zimmerman: Museum Director
  • Kimberly Dubas: Office Manager
  • John Klinger: Webmaster
  • Faith Matthews: Facebook

Our Historic Buildings


Frankenberger Tavern

217 East Main Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

Frankenberger Tavern

One of Mechanicsburg's first residents was George Frankenberger, who in 1801 applied for a license to open his newly built log home for the "convenience" of travelers. In exchange for a small fee, Mr. Frankenberger offered cattle drovers a warm meal and a place to sleep. The tavern has a rustic charm that transports visitors back in time.

Believed to be the oldest building in the borough, the tavern has undergone extensive renovation. A third-story addition was removed and the roof replaced with wooden shingles and the fireplace was rebuilt to comply with 20th century regulations. Several doors, the stairway and the wavy glass panes are original.

In 1983, the tavern was moved 100 feet from its original location to accommodate the construction of "Frankeberger Place", a small business building. The owners, Dr. and Mrs. John Capello, donated the tavern to the community.


1886 CVRR Freight Station

3 West Allen Street
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

CVRR Freight Station

Mechanicsburg was the site of a fuel wood and water station for locomotives from the beginning of Cumberland Valley Railroad operations in 1837. Our earliest map of this property is from 1858, and shows it owned by the CVRR, with a building that is most likely the wood and water station.

In 1874, the first CVRR "Freight House" was built in Mechanicsburg. Before this, most freight was handled by independent freight forwarders, who owned their own freight cars, and worked from their warehouses in town.

About 1886, a new siding was added to the two track main line here, and the current freight station was built. Over the years and into the 1950s, shipments to and from both individuals and companies in town passed through the station and its adjoining "Freight Shed" (now gone).

The Mechanicsburg Museum Association purchased the station in 1987 to complement the town's "historic district." Now known as the "Museum at the Freight Station". The museum offers three exhibits each year which focus on areas of community and local interest.

The Freight Station is also home to the Museum Store, which carries distinctive specialty items and heritage crafts from Mechanicsburg.


The Stationmaster's House

4 Strawberry Alley
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

The Stationmaster’s House

This two-story building, listed on the National Register of Historic Places, was built in 1866 for $5,044 by the Cumberland Valley Railroad for stationmaster George Zacharias and his family. By 1890, it had become the office of Adams Express, one of the forerunners of Railway Express Agency. Later, it was also used by the CVRR for baggage.

When "adopted" by the MMA, the house had fallen into disrepair after serving for many years as a railroad baggage building by the Cumberland Valley Railroad and Railway Express Agency.

In 1976 MMA began restoring the home and furnishing it with antiques and reproductions from the period. The restored building typifies homes belonging to middle class families in central Pennsylvania in the late 1860s.

The Stationmaster's House at one time was owned by the Mechanicsburg borough and leased to the Mechanicsburg Museum Association for an annual "rent" of four strawberries, in recognition of the home's Strawberry Alley address.


Washington Street Station

Washington Street

This simple wooden structure offered Mechanicsburg’s travelers a place where they could board a train, or in inclement weather, a place of shelter from the elements. The interior furnishings were very basic to the needs of the persons staying only a short time. The switchman who worked here had to “throw” the switch to move trains from one track to another. Exhibits are visible through the window.


The Passenger Station

2 Strawberry Alley
Mechanicsburg, PA 17055

The Passenger Station

The Cumberland Valley Railroad was originally incorporated on April 2, 1831. The first attempt to raise funds failed. The incorporation was revised in 1835, and the CVRR began operations between Chambersburg and Bridgeport (now Lemoyne) in 1837. A bridge to Harrisburg was completed in 1839, allowing all-rail travel to Philadelphia.

The railroad bought the land on which the Passenger Station and the Stationmaster’s House now stand on April 7, 1866. The Passenger Station was erected in 1867. It served until service ended in 1952.

In 1976, The Passenger Station and Stationmaster’s House were deeded to the Borough of Mechanicsburg and the Borough used it as their office until 2003. Then in 2005, the Mechanicsburg Museum Association through a generous donation from Attorney and Mrs. Richard C. Snelbaker purchased the two buildings from the Borough of Mechanicsburg.