Businesses of Harrisburg's Old 8th Ward
Like most other 19th century neighborhoods, the Old 8th Ward had businesses and industries within it. Corner stores offered groceries, clothing, and cigars while cafes, saloons, and pool halls provided entertainment to the ward's residents. Factories were also located within the ward, offering their goods to the ward and beyond. Boarding houses and hotels were home to many of the ward's residents. Most importantly, all of these businesses, both large and small, offered employment to the ward's and to greater Harrisburg's residents.
Careful examination of the Old 8th Ward's businesses uncovers numerous trends. Prime business locations remained fairly constant throughout the ward's history although the ownership and specific type of business found there may have changed. More skilled trades, such as baking and butchery, tended to be monopolized by the same owners for many years, pushing out newcomers fairly quickly. One surprising trend is the transient nature of many businesses; some owners appear to have changed specialty and location yearly. Overall, small scale entrepreneurship for both genders and across all ethnicities was common.
Below is a listing of businesses found in the 8th Ward organized by goods or services offered. By clicking each category, a new page will open, listing information about that type of business as it operated in the 8th. When known, the owners' names, dates of business, and other pertinent information are provided, including links to photographs if available.
- Barbers & Haircare
- Boarding Houses and Hotels
- Books and Paper Goods
- Builders and Carpenters
- Cafes and Restaurants
- Candy, Confections, and Ice Cream
- Cigars and Tobacco
- Coal and Lumber
- Doctors and Dentists
- Dressmakers and Tailors
- Factories and Machine Shops
- Flour and Feed
- Grocers and Food Markets
- Hides and Leather
- Jewelers and Pawnbrokers
- Notions, Novelties, and Varieties
- Paint and Wallpaper
- Photographers and Supplies
- Pool Halls
- Shoemakers and Supplies
- Spirits and Saloons
For further reading:
- Advertisements--see printed ads for 8th Ward businesses.
- Nineteenth-Century Occupations--definitions of common jobs worked by 8th Ward residents.
- Resident Directory--offers a street-by-street listing of all known 8th Ward inhabitants.
- Institution Directory--offers listings on churches, schools, firehouses, and more.
- Maps--includes links to printable street maps.