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Chambersburg: The heart of Franklin County

As the county seat and the largest of five boroughs, Chambersburg is the hub of county government.

Along with its surrounding townships, the borough has seen steady growth both in population and in commercial expansion in these early days of the 21st century.

Two of the county's largest employers — Letterkenny Army Depot and Summit Health — are headquartered in the greater Chambersburg area, but the real driving force over the years is the growth of small business and business expansion, including the development of the Norland Avenue business district during the last decade. Read fast facts on Chambersburg.

Chambersburg is known for its cultural opportunities in an active arts community, from stage performances at the Capitol Theatre to musical opportunities through Cumberland Valley School of Music to dance performances by Chambersburg Ballet Theatre School.

Creative works can be seen year-round in exhibits at Chambersburg Council for the Arts and by members of Franklin County Arts Alliance, including art shows and classes.

Festivals throughout the year draw huge crowds to downtown Chambersburg, from the mid-winter Ice Fest in February to the mid-summer ChambersFest in July commemorating the 1864 burning of Chambersburg by Confederate troops during the Civil War. Both events draw crowds even from neighboring states and sometimes from around the country.

Beginning each spring, Main Street opens wide for monthly First Friday nights, featuring stores and restaurants that stay open late, local musicians who stroll Main Street and local artists demonstrating their technique on downtown streets.

Educationally, Chambersburg has opportunities for anyone with a desire to learn and further their education.

It is home to the historic Wilson College, which last year went from a women's college to a co-ed facility.

Chambersburg Area School District hosts Franklin County Career and Technology Center, which accepts students from throughout the county who are interested in technology careers. The center is also home to CASD's Career Magnet School, an online-only program that began in 2012.

Chambersburg rich history traces its roots back to the 1700s, when founder Benjamin Chambers obtained a 523-acre land grant straddling the confluence of Conococheague Creek and Falling Spring.

He built a log cabin and saw mill, then encouraged others to settle in the little town he later laid out. He gave land to three churches, stipulating only that they pay an annual rent of one rose to his family. Almost 300 years later, those churches still have annual summer Rose Rent ceremonies, giving a single rose to a Chambers descendant.

Chambers' son, Benjamin Jr., gave land to the county for a courthouse and jail. The price for the land was nominal and the courthouse deed included a tribute to Chambers' father, outlining a symbolic rose rent stipulation.