Explore the History of Carlisle Borough

Carlisle was established by Scots-Irish immigrants in 1751 to serve as the county seat of the newly established Cumberland County. The town was named after Carlisle, Cumberland (now in Cumbria), England. The former prison, which is now used by Cumberland County for offices, was even built to resemble The Citadel in Carlisle England.  Carlisle was later incorporated as a Borough on April 13, 1782. 
Carlisle Old Prison                   

Revolutionary War
Carlisle and Cumberland County played significant roles in the American Revolutionary War.  The Cumberland Valley area contributed supplies, food, weapons, and most importantly, soldiers to the fight for independence. The Carlisle Barracks, the second-oldest Army post in the United States, served as supply headquarters.

Carlisle was home to some notable names of the time period. James Wilson, who called Carlisle home, was one of three Cumberland County attorneys to sign the Declaration of Independence in 1776.

Molly Pitcher is another name familiar to Carlisle. Molly Hays McCauly, the wife of an artilleryman, earned her nickname by running pitchers of water to members of the Continental Army during the Battle of Monmouth.  When Molly's husband collapsed in battle, is has been said that Molly took his place at the canon. A monument in the Old Graveyard on East South Street serves to honor Molly Pitcher.

Molly Pitcher Memorial - Copy
Carlisle also played an important role in the Whiskey Rebellion. In October of 1794, General George Washington and 14.000 militiamen met at the Carlisle Barracks on their way to put an end to the rebellion.

Historic Resources
Carlisle and Cumberland County have a very rich history. Located in Carlisle, the Cumberland County Historical Society houses an award-winning museum with 16 galleries of local history spanning 250 years. CCHS is dedicated to collecting, preserving, and interpreting Cumberland County History. They offer educational programs, walking tours, family-friendly programs, workshops, lectures, and bus trips.

In 2004, Carlisle was designated a Preserve America Community by the White House. Preserve America communities encourage people to experience and appreciate local historical resources through education and heritage programs. Historic Carlisle, Inc's Wayside Markers Project helps visitors and residents appreciate Carlisle's history by telling the story of its people, places, and events. There are currently 31 wayside markers throughout Carlisle. Child at Wayside Marker


Carlisle Borough Committed to Excellence in Community Service
Carlisle Borough 53 West South Street 717-249-4422 Mon-Fri: 7:30am - 4:30pm