PA has one of the more interesting stories of its Governor's mansion. The Governors' first official residence was on South Second Street in downtown Harrisburg. Because of the many crisis planning meetings necessary during the Civil War Governor Andrew Curtain concluded the residence was too small. The next residence for the governor was known as Keystone Hall and was located on North Front Street in Harrisburg. Unfortunately, it was a large and drafty building with small sized rooms. Not ideal for conducting business and social events. After 79 years of use Governor Arthur James lead the legislative process necessary to procure property at Front and McKlay Streets in Harrisburg in 1941. However, the onset of WWII delayed the actual building of the $2.5 million Governor's Mansion until 1966. Now, don't start feeling too sorry for all the governors that had to endure a long wait for their official state home. Three Governors, lived at the State House, a fieldstone residence at Fort Indiantown Gap. This was for the adjutant general of the Pennsylvania National Guard.
Two governors chose to reside in Keystone Hall. The last Governor at Keystone, David Lawrence, sold Keystone Hall at auction for $85,000, and moved his family to the State House.
After years of postponement, ground was broken for the new Governors Residence on November 22, 1966. In December 1968, Governor and Mrs. Raymond Shafer (1967-1971) became the first occupants of the newly constructed home. Unfortunately planners from the 1940's era neglected on one key factor, the mighty Susquehanna river flood plain. Less than four years later after the first family moved in the historic Agnes flood of 1972 struck the northeast. In fact, Governor Milton Shapp (1971-1979) and his family had to be evacuated by boat. At the peak of the flood waters there was over 5 feet of flood water on the first floor. It took nearly two years to restore the residence to normal use. During Governor Thornburghs administration, a screened porch was built for the first family. Years later, First Lady Michelle Ridge spearheaded a major garden renovation that visitors continue to enjoy today.
The latest governor at the time of this writing, Tom Wolf and First Lady Frances Wolf continue to live in Toms childhood home in York County, but utilize the residence for official functions, meetings and other events. We recognize the 6 BR mansion for state business and social functions open to the public with the kickoff to our latest Harrisburg PA video.
Unlock your inner outdoor artist with your own waterfall design. The secret is to use durable materials that match your outdoor design theme. Think pots, stones, bowls to even old galvanized watering buckets. Create multiple cascades for variety, interest and the relaxing sounds of moving water. Are you looking for inspiration? Check these waterfall designs out. First let's consider what I mean by your theme. Are you focused on outdoor plants and colorful flowers around your water garden feature? If so, consider durable materials that relate to that focus. How about different size empty clay pots for example? An attractive design feature of those "stackable" pots in any order or angle you choose for a durable outside material that will repel water is that they typically have a drain hole in the bottom. You can use this to thread a plastic tube for your water return for your small electric pump for the top of your waterfall pot. For the downstream pots you can then either plug the hole with a tube cement product or let it open to overflow to the next pot based on your cascade design. Of course, where does all the water recirculate from? You choose the scale of your waterfall feature and receiving pool by the size of your water basin. This could range from being the largest pot (don't forget to plug the hole - or better yet make it a removable plug so you can drain everything for the annual pre-winter drain and cleaning) to a larger pre molded black pond shell. This basin design can be incorporated to include your choice of plants and fixed (stones, bricks or rocks) layout that surround your receiving pool. How do you position your pots in a vertical fashion? If you have some artistic skills you can use colored clay or cement to position your pots. Or, how about using other pots and live plants to stack around your waterfall pots? You always have a surefire backup plan...Stones and rocks are an easy natural looking solution to set your pots around. If you are into a natural plant theme what could be better than a tree as your centerpiece? Find an appropriate size tree branch or stump. Find someone handy with a chainsaw to cut the appropriate notches in it to set your waterfall pots around it. Hopefully these simple starting design ideas can inspire you to create your own waterfall design and stress reducing water garden feature.