Carlisle has a well earned reputation for excellence in historic preservation, and communities throughout the Commonwealth look to Carlisle as a model of how to implement a local historic district. For instance, when I worked for the Borough of Hollidaysburg, we modeled the street signs in our historic district after Carlisle’s. The staff at the Borough of Carlisle couldn’t have been more helpful, and provided critical advice about how to secure PennDot’s permission to erect the signs.
Besides many well preserved buildings (including a John Haviland prison), I noticed that Carlisle is rather proud of its brief but interesting role in the battle of Gettysburg. In the early hours of the battle, Confederate Colonel J.E.B. Stuart’s cavalry rode around the outskirts of Carlisle, and engaged Union defenders in a skirmish, leaving scars on the county courthouse and other buildings that are still visible today (I’ve included pictures of the visible cannon shell damage on two buildings). Many historians claim that Stuart’s jaunt around Carlisle and other nearby communities was a source of irritation to General Lee, and that his delayed arrival at Gettysburg was a factor in the confederate loss.