The History of Chambersburg’s Borough Hall: “A Hall of Distinction”

03 February 2023 – Hear Mike Marotte remarks from his visit to First News earlier today – CLICK HERE.

30 January 2023- With the new copper cladding shining down on pedestrians, travelers, commuters, residents, and anyone who passes through the Borough of Chambersburg, we thought it only right to give a full retelling of the tale of Chambersburg’s Market House and cupola, which now houses Borough Hall.

During the early days of Chambersburg circa 1800, a long, one-story brick building was built on the “diamond” (Memorial Square) near the Repository Hall, next to the Courthouse. This building would be known as the Market House and the place where residents of Chambersburg and vicinity could gather for annual fairs, offer home grown vegetables, meats, and also sold handmade items for the holidays or just daily use. 

To get the full picture we tapped Franklin County Historian, M.L. “Mike” Marotte III. If you want to see more of Mike’s work, head to

Each time a fair was held, the local merchants would also enjoy a hearty time for transactions. These heavily attended fairs usually lasted for three days. A clause that was included in the articles of incorporation of the borough of Chambersburg for March 21, 1803 states that the citizens of the borough may hold two fairs a year for a period of two days. 

The specified time for the fairs was the first Thursday in June and the first Thursday in October. One can only imagine the wonderful times that were shared by all attending these memorable occasions. As time marches on, so does the necessity for change and advancement. A resolution was passed by town council on April 19, 1830 to purchase a lot at the southeast corner of East Queen and South Second streets for the purpose of erecting a building that would serve as a Market House and Town Hall. 

The contract for this new building was given to Jacob Zettle and Henry Winemiller on May 11, 1830, but on September 6, Jacob Zettle withdrew and Henry Winemiller continued on to finish the entire building. The new market saw its first ‘good’ sold in March 1831. 

The members of town council went on next to have a clock placed in the cupola of Town Hall and entered into a contract with Frederick and George Heisly of Harrisburg, PA on March 16, 1831 for this great addition. A bell was added to the top of the cupola. 

The Protection Hook and Ladder Company was organized on December 31, 1858 and town council was gracious enough to build quarters for the ladder truck on the eastern wing of Town Hall and the members were given permission to use the second floor to conduct their meetings. 

During the “Great Fire” of July 30, 1864, when the Confederate forces were setting the many fires throughout Chambersburg, one of the areas spared was the Market House and current Borough Hall.