Frankeberger's Tavern Photo courtesy WITF, Harrisburg
Taverns by the Wayside - Cumberland County
county public television station, WITF, Harrisburg, has produced a
thirty-minute program, "Taverns by the Wayside," an evocative look
at early American communities and westward travel two centuries
ago. Featuring historic images, live videography of historic
settings, period music, newspaper accounts and excerpts from
diaries, "Taverns by the Wayside" weaves personal recollections of
tavern life and travel into an informative narrative. Filming at
several historic tavern structures, the production visualizes and
re-creates the tavern experience for the viewer employing period
re-enactors. Local actors have recorded voice-overs of quotes from
letters and diaries of travelers who frequented the taverns.
"Taverns by the Wayside" has been produced with the
guidance and cooperation of the local organization, 250th
Cumberland Anniversary Celebration 2000. The program's premiere
will be part of the year-long millennium celebration of the
Cumberland County, Pennsylvania's 1750 founding. Although the
program will focus on the well-documented tavern experiences of
Cumberland County, "Taverns by the Wayside" was designed to attract
the general public television audience. It premiered on April 18,
1999, and the program is being offered statewide with a web-based
educational outreach during the year 2000.
At the time when western expansion was just
beginning, taverns played a crucial role in the early development
of America, serving as rest stop, dining room, bar, store,
ballroom, auditorium, newsstand, and gossip parlor -- the community
social center. Situated along the few main roads, taverns hosted
travelers of varying backgrounds who left vivid accounts in
diaries, letters, and journals.
Cumberland County's travel and road history serves as
a microcosm. At the intersection of travel routes which today have
become Interstate 81 and the Pennsylvania Turnpike, Cumberland
County experienced a mass migration of travelers and commerce
through central Pennsylvania going by stagecoach, Conestoga wagon,
and on horseback. By the 1840s over 200 taverns had opened and
closed on the roads throughout Cumberland County. The arrival of
railroads and the eventual construction of modern highways brought
to an end the life of Cumberland's taverns. Remarkably, 55 tavern
structures remain standing in the county, with most renovated into
private homes or bed & breakfasts; some have become tavern
museums. Many of these structures are featured in the television
Project documentation includes a nine-page narrative,
a "rough cut" videotape of the documentary, 16 slides taken for the
documentary, 17 photographs picturing modern-day Carlisle Pike
(Middlesex Township, Cumberland County), and information about the
250th Anniversary Committee organization.
Originally submitted by: William F. Goodling, Representative (19th District).
The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.