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The Harrisburg Region is located in central Pennsylvania of the United States of America. The landscape includes numerous state parks, and the landscape is filled with hills and forests. The destination's name comes from the city Harrisburg, located at the bottom of the area. Other notable cities in the territory include Hershey to the east, Lewisburg to the north, and the municipality of State College to the northwest (home of Pennsylvania State University). Harrisburg is the capital of Pennsylvania and has had various historical impacts within the United States, especially during the Civil War and the Industrial Revolution. The climate reaches extremes on a relative scale of temperatures, meaning that snow occurs in the winter, and the summers are known for being hot and humid.
Harrisburg is the state capital of Pennsylvania, despite being the 10th largest city in the state in terms of population. It has been settled for over 200 years and sits on the west banks of the Susquehanna River. The river is one of the more prominent natural features within the Harrisburg Region, spanning hundreds of miles across the state. Visitors to the area often take guided riverboat tours of the river, considering that the Susquehanna River is "the centerpiece of Harrisburg." The paddle-board riverboat used in the tour is one of the last remaining ones of its kind in the United States. The boat departs from City Island, which is on the town's southern portion of the river. Only a few miles to the east lies the city of Hershey, which is named after Milton S. Hershey. He is best known for creating the chocolate-producing company of the same name, and the headquarters for the company is located in the city. The Hershey's Chocolate World and Hersheypark are chocolate-themed attractions that draw in many visitors to the region. Not far from the theme parks is the Hershey West Distribution Plant, which is responsible for manufacturing and shipping many of the Hershey's chocolate products that make their way around the world.
Apart from Hershey, other notable cities within the Harrisburg Region include Lewistown and the State College municipality. The latter is home to Pennsylvania State University. The college enrolls more than 20,000 students each semester and has an emphasis on business and engineering degrees. It is home to sports teams such as the Penn State Nittany Lions (for American football) and the Lady Lions (women's basketball). Annually, somewhere around 10 million people visit the Harrisburg Region, at least according to statistical estimations. Based on tourism scoring, the "best time of year" to visit Harrisburg is from mid-June to late September. This is primarily to take advantage of the warm-weather activities offered in the area. The destination's economy is greatly affected by its production of shoes, books, computer products, machinery, leather goods, textiles, and other products. Harrisburg is also known for hosting America's largest auto show, displaying new cars and older vehicles alike.
The city of Harrisburg lies at the bottom edge of the Harrisburg Region. The area stretches north, mostly outlined by interstates 76, 99, 80, and 81. The furthest city to the west of the territory is Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. The cap to the north is Milton, and to the far east, the limit is Lebanon. The general topography of the area is farmland divided and patterned with rolling green hills. When viewed from above, the landscape has a similar appearance to the patterns found on tigers or leopards. The Susquehanna River runs up the center of the Harrisburg Region, dividing on the banks of Northumberland, Pennsylvania. The unique geographic features in the area have allowed for the creation of multiple state parks, including Rothrock State Forest, Bald Eagle State Forest, and the Tuscarora State Forest. There are also many designated hunting areas within the hillsides of the Harrisburg Region. Some of the common wildlife known to the area include whitetail deer, monarch butterflies, skunks, groundhogs, red foxes, and cottontails. Bird watchers can catch sight of species such as the downy woodpecker, northern cardinal, eastern bluebird, American goldfinch, and the ruby-throated hummingbird.
The nature within the area is mostly green, sustained by means of the 2.5-3 inches of rainfall that the destination receives per month (as an annual average). The average temperatures for Harrisburg vary over the course of a year, typically ranging anywhere from 23 degrees (Fahrenheit) to 86 degrees. Rarely does the temperature drop below 11 or rise above 94. The different seasons are quite distinct and polarized one from another. The summers—peak seasons for tourism and travel—are warm and humid. The winters in Pennsylvania are notably cold. In January and February in particular, visitors can expect to see somewhere around an inch's worth of snow. When taken as a year-round average, the most common weather pattern is "partly cloudy." The climate allows for the growth of plants such as yellow-flag iris, chicory, swamp milkweed, and witch hazel.
Before any settlement was created in the area, the territory was most known for the Susquehanna River. It derives its name from a Native American tribe of the same name that was known to frequent the surrounding landscape. In the early 1700s, Europeans began to settle the area of Harrisburg, and by 1791 the town was officially incorporated into the state. Twenty-one years later, in 1812, it was made the state capital of Pennsylvania. Since that time, it has never lost that status—despite the growing sizes of other cities such as Pittsburg and Philadelphia. Soon after the city's conception, an ornate brick capitol building was constructed (in 1822). That building would eventually burn down in the late 1800s, forcing the town to build a new one.
During the American Civil War, Harrisburg acted as a trading center for the Union Army. Because of its strategic location, it became a target for invasion over the course of the war. Another point of historical importance was the role that Harrisburg played during the Underground Railroad. It served as one of the final stops that runaway slaves would use to migrate north to Canada. As far as the history of resources is concerned, Harrisburg was once instrumental in the development of steel and iron for the eastern United States. This was further facilitated by the heavy railroad traffic that the region received.
In more recent history, Harrisburg mayor Stephen Reed caused the city to fall into fiscal difficulties during his time in office from the late 1900s to the early 2000s. He was eventually accused and charged with multiple counts of extortion and theft. Perhaps most devastating of all of the town's losses was the financial decline of the Harrisburg incinerator. The building had been used to burn garbage and other materials and was once a large potential source of the town's income. Plans have been put into motion to reverse its debt and get it to profitable levels once more. The town's population is 47.3% black, 22.6% white, 11.8% white Hispanics, 5.36% Asian, and 4.5% black Hispanics. There are roughly 50,000 people who live in Harrisburg.
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