John Brown House

225 E King St, Chambersburg, PA

Photo by Smallbones / Public Domain


The John Brown House (Ritner Boarding House) was where the famous abolitionist boarded during the summer of 1859 under the alias of Isaac Smith. During this time, weapons were secretly secured and plans furthered to seize the arsenal at in October 1859.

The Society was able to purchase the John Brown House from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission in 2002 through the generosity of Dr. W. R. McElroy and family. The John Brown House was rededicated and opened on May 2, 2009 as part of the 150th Anniversary of John Brown’s raid on Harpers Ferry. The John Brown House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1970.

The John Brown has been restored with period furniture. One visitor remarked that if John Brown came to Chambersburg today he feel right at home at the Ritner Boarding House.



Franklin County Historical Society

Updated June 7, 2017

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