Though barely a blip on map, Harrisburg is a pleasant enough town.
Finding Harrisburg didn’t turn out to be as difficult as I thought it was when I was looking for it.
“You’re in it, I believe,” said a motorist in a truck stopped at Columbus Road and Paris Avenue NE, immediately after I’d asked about its location. “It’s not very big.”
I had gone to the obscure unincorporated community in Nimishillen Township because I had heard of its existence and thought it would be fun to go somewhere new for the night.
“I’m going to watch the sunset over Harrisburg,” I told a friend one evening earlier this week, even though it was getting pretty cloudy.
“Where’s that? I’ve never heard of it. I’ve heard of Harrisburg Road ...”
As it turns out, Harrisburg is on Columbus Road NE, east of Skyland Pines Golf Course, beyond Bud’s Corner bar, past Anthony Petitti Garden Center & Landscaping, well past Easton Street, on the other side of state Route 44. You’ve got to go by some corn fields and occasional homes, up and down a few hills, around a bunch of turns, over Paris Avenue NE — hey, I didn’t see any signs for Harrisburg on Columbus Road — until you get to state Route 173 and realize, “This has got to be too far ...”
So I went back to the first thing that looked like a town, although it actually was more like a crossroads. But the signs lessened the speed limit from 45 miles per hour to 40 miles per hour near the intersection, so somebody must have thought something was there.
Carriage House Nite Club was on one corner and Kempo Karate Styles was across the street. And the clouds above were beginning to become dark. No sun was in sight. It was time to be a little bit less than manly and ask directions.
“I believe you’re in it,” said the guy in the truck, Mike Walter of nearby Paris. He added, “You may want to get back in your car, you’re going to get wet.”
This proved to be sound journalistic advice as within a minute or two, it started to pour. It rained cats and dogs. So if nothing else, there are colloquial kinds of weather animals in Harrisburg.
Just before he’d driven off, Walter mentioned that he knew there was a sign identifying Harrisburg on at least one of the roads. I knew it
wasn’t on Columbus Road or I wouldn’t have been talking to him about it. So I looked up Paris Avenue as far as I could, to where it bent in the corn fields, then took the other direction, because it had a handful of houses.
And there I saw the sign.
Page 2 of 2 - “HARRISBURG” — here was evidence in green and white.
A quiet stretch of road led back into what I now considered a town. There was a peacefulness to the evening that was turning into night.
I tell you, Harrisburg is a nice place, when you find it. I only talked to one person, and technically he was from somewhere else, but I’ll still use him to judge that the people in Harrisburg certainly are friendly. If I lived in Harrisburg I’d be proud to say I lived in Harrisburg, and I’d eagerly give people directions how to get there.
As I was leaving town, it dawned on me that I never saw the sun set over Harrisburg. I did sit through a storm in Harrisburg, though.
Then, down the road a mile or two, at the crest of a hill, I looked a little to my right and saw the most beautiful orange sun clearing under the clouds and dipping beneath the horizon. At least I’d seen a sunset just west of Harrisburg.
Take it from me, without any signs on Columbus Road, a lot of people aren’t going to know the difference.