The picturesque borough of Carlisle is rich in history and growing for the future. The borough was founded in 1751, and George Washington walked the streets of Carlisle as he commanded the Continental Army during the Revolutionary War. In modern times, a different type of street is heavily traveled: Carlisle is now located at the crossroads of two major interstates, I-76 and I-81. Carlisle is the seat of Cumberland County, has a population of about 19,000, and is five and a half square miles in size. The closest major city is Harrisburg, which is about a 30-minute drive to the east. Many Carlisle residents commute to Harrisburg for work.
Carlisle has a mix of small businesses and large corporations. The largest employers in the area are the Cumberland County government and the United States Military. Other major employers are HighMark and Giant Foods. Historically, Cumberland County has one of the lowest unemployment rates in the state of Pennsylvania. In recent years, borough and county officials have attempted to further boost the economy by attracting technology-based firms and strong service industries.
Carlisle's historic downtown is the center of the community. Restored homes, manicured lawns and blooming flower boxes lead to the tree-lined streets of downtown, with its quaint shops and unique architecture. Award-winning restaurants provide a place to stop and get a bite to eat. The neighborhood has a large number of architecturally significant homes, commercial buildings and public buildings. As such, it has been officially designated the Carlisle Historic District and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Any changes to buildings or signs in the historic district must be approved by the borough's Board of Historical and Architectural Review.
Three world-class institutions of higher learning have campuses just a short walk from downtown Carlisle.
Carlisle's many college students and the proximity to the state capital help it attract leading artists, poets, performers and musicians. The borough is rich in galleries, theaters and cultural activities. They include:
Carlisle also is home to several museums, including:
The beautiful rolling hills of south-central Pennsylvania provide the perfect setting for outdoor activities. Fishing enthusiasts will find that Cumberland County's creeks and streams are filled with trout, bass, pickerel and walleye. A great hike is easy to find on the nearby Appalachian Trail or on the 15 miles of trails at the King's Gap Environmental Education Center. Pine Grove Furnace State Park features swimming, boat launches and more than 70 campsites.
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