Landscape as History

Students in Dickinson have commonly heard about how historical Carlisle is and about how Dickinson was the first college established after the Civil War ended. For this assignment, I went into town and looked at some of the places within the border of the historic district. I viewed the place through the lens of “landscape as history.” I specifically looked around the intersection between Hanover and High street. I noticed that there were two churches across from each other. One church was the Presbyterian Church, which was made starting in 1854. The church across is a catholic church. Across the street from the Catholic Church is the new courthouse and across that courthouse is the old courthouse, which was built in 1846.

Old Courthouse

A few blocks down is the old Cumberland county prison, which has the shape of a castle, and is made of bricks. The prison was used from 1854-1984 to house inmates and is now used for offices. Looking at these places gave me a sense of what was important to the people in Carlisle a few centuries ago. They seemed to value religion a lot and politics was very present. In the sign by the Presbyterian Church it states, “here colonists met to declare for independence in 1774.” In addition, by the old courthouse there is a memorial dedicated to the fallen soldiers of the civil war from 1861-1865. It shows that Carlisle was an important place when it came to the war and the declaration of independence from the British. There are many American flags in the corners of the old courthouse and it seemed as though the people in Carlisle were very patriotic. In contrast to the more modern buildings, the older buildings in the area are either made of bricks or have a brown/ maroon/ beige color, which emphasizes their age.

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