IMG_2321As summer hits its stride, Chambersburg is ready for its annual 1864 commemoration that pays tribute to the strength, faith, and determination of Chambersburg’s resident, who rebuilt the community from the ashes of destruction after the Confederate burning on July 30, 1864. The history reenactment pits Jacob Hoke, an actual merchant on the square of Chambersburg in 1864, against Confederate General “Tiger” John McCausland, who executed the order of his superior General Jubal Early to first ransom and then, if the ransom was not met, burn the town.

1864 is not an ordinary living history event. Staged from the steps of the Franklin County courthouse, the backdrop is truly authentic as today’s courthouse recycles six of the pillars from the 1842 courthouse–the previous courthouse gutted by the Confederate burning. But, most distinctive is the burning–done with lights so realistically, the courthouse and adjoining buildings appear to be afire. As the narration of the story, using original source materials concludes, the town rises from the ashes and is bathed in beautiful lights to signify the rebirth.

Leading up to 1864 The Burning, there are Civil War walking tours, history exhibits, living history vignettes, old-time photos, and book signings. At 7 PM, the musical entertainment is the focus as finalists of the A Capella & Unplugged perform one last time. The winner will be announced just before 1864 The Ransoming, Burning & Rebirth of Chambersburg begins.

1864 is adding more activities for children, including a special vendor Zoo Zoo’s Animaland to let kids of all ages create a furry friend. A special “Franklin County-Ben Bear” will be featured at 1864 and anyone registering at the Franklin County Visitors Bureau booth will be entered to win a free “Ben Bear.” The historic events of 1864 have been made into a video, using footage of the light shows.

This year when 1864 concludes, visitors can continue the celebration with more music, a little art, and some friendly and fun competitions at Illuminate! After Party at the Capitol Theatre, a block north on South Main Street.

Earlier in the day, the annual festival Old Market Day fills the streets of Chambersburg with over 100 stalls–row after row of art and craft vendors displaying one-of-a-kind wares as well as an assortment of festival food. Local merchants will hold sidewalk sales and courthouse plaza will feature a variety of music from classic rock to folk and bluegrass.

Chambersburg remembers the history of July 1864 when Confederates served a ransom demand on Chambersburg. True to history, the demand of $100,000 in gold or $500,000 in greenbacks will not be paid, and Chambersburg will be burned–with lights.

Keep abreast of last-minute updates by visiting or like Ben Franklin and the Franklin County Visitors Bureau on Facebook at

IMG_20140719_212256Though Confederate troops ransomed and burned Chambersburg on July 20, 1864,

the community united and rebuilt.

Join us as we celebrate

“Chambersburg comes to LIfe”

on July 18, 2015 for 1864 The Burning.




6-8:15 PM – Welcome, history exhibits, variety of vendors including booksellers and for the young and young-at-heart Zoo Zoo’s Animaland, period photographs, children’s games & activities, horses in Founding Family Park, demonstrations, local authors and artists, plus tee-shirts & local product giveaways.

5:30-7 PM Guided Civil War walking tours; starting times: 5:30 PM, 6:00 PM, and 6:30 PM.

7 PM – Preview of 250th commemoration of the colonial rebellion at Fort Loudoun–10 years before the rebellion at Lexington and Concord.

7:15 PM-8:15 PM – Finals of A Cappella & Unplugged – the final performers of the musical competition perform one last time. The public can continue to vote at until 8:30 PM.

8:35 PM – Winner of A Cappella & Unplugged closes and the winner announced.

8:50 PM – 1864 The Burning begins.

10:00 PM Illuminate! The After Party – the celebration continues with fun, food, beverages, music & games at the Captiol Theatre–a few doors from Memorial Square, 159 South Main.


The event will be held at the Franklin County Courthouse Plaza on the square in downtown Chambersburg.Please feel free to bring a lawn chair.

Traffic through the center of town is closed. Event is best viewed from the north and southwest quadrant of the square and the central area around the square. Parking areas are listed below.

From Interstate-81

Take Exit 16/US 30 West toward downtown Chambersburg/Memorial Square.

From Gettysburg US Rt. 30 West/Lincoln Way West

Turn right onto Second Street and travel one block across King Street to 218 North Second Street/Rt. 11 North. Parking is available around the Franklin County Administrative Annex Building. It is a brief walk to downtown. Walk back to King Street and turn right, walk one block to North Main and turn left. Memorial Square is one-block south.

From Greencastle on US Rt. 11 entering Chambersburg

Route 11 becomes Derbyshire for 1 block, and then returns to Rt. 11/Second Street.  Get into the left lane, travel 7 Blocks, and just after crossing over US Rt. 30/Lincoln Way East, within ½ block turn left into the King Street Church parking lot. It is a brief walk from the parking lot to Memorial Square.

From Greencastle on US Rt. 11 entering Chambersburg

Route 11 becomes Derbyshire for 1 block, and then returns to Rt. 11/Second Street.  Get into the left lane, travel 5 Blocks and turn left onto Washington Street, travel 2 blocks crossing over US Rt. 11/Main Street South to the old Southgate Mall. From the mall parking area walk back on Washington Street one block to South Main Street.  Turn left and walk 3 blocks to Memorial Square.

From Mercersburg/Fort Loudon US RT 30/Lincoln Way East

US Rt. 30 becomes Loudon Street, after passing over the bridge at the Southgate Mall it will become Queen Street.  Stay in the left lane and turn left onto the “Shopper’s Lot” which is located on the left, on Black Avenue, just after crossing over the “Rails to Trails.”

From Mercersburg/Fort Loudon US RT 30/Lincoln Way East

US Rt. 30 becomes Loudon Street, after passing over the bridge at the Southgate Mall it will become Queen Street, follow Queen Street to US Rt. 11/Second Street. Turning left onto Rt. 11/Second Street follow directions listed above to the King Street Church parking area and the Franklin County Administrative Annex Building parking areas.

From Shippensburg US Rt. 11/South/Main Street entering Chambersburg

Get into the left lane; turn left onto King Street, just after turning left, at the end of the King Street Church office building, turn right into the parking area beside the King Street Church.  Parking is also available near the rear of the Courthouse. It is a brief walk to Memorial Square.