The James Wilson Facility houses Short-Term Emergency and Long-Term Temporary Housing, and some Permanent Housing. The building was not always a shelter for the homeless. It has been home to a variety of establishments, including law offices, hotels, a rooming house and now a shelter. Safe Harbour continues to grow and change within this historic building.
The James Wilson Facility served as a hotel starting in 1775 by David Caldwell, who named the inn “White Hall”. Before the time of the hotel, the building started as the law offices and home of James Wilson, Esq., a signer of the Declaration of Independence. Wilson named his home “White Hall” after the Court of Request in London. In 1792, James Pollock acquired the inn from David Caldwell. In 1808, James Nobel purchased the “White Hall” and he called it the “Carlisle Hotel”. The hotel changed ownerships quite frequently until James Bell took possession of the hotel in 1819 and renamed it “The Mansion House”. Mr. Bell ran “The Mansion House” for 20 years. From 1839 to 1851, when Joseph Patton purchased the hotel, the proprietors of the hotel changed numerous times. During the Civil War period, the hotel registers include signatures from many Union Army Officers who would travel back and forth to the Carlisle Barracks. The ownership of the hotel changed many times between the years of 1872 and 1896 when Raymond Shearer purchased the property. The sons of Raymond Shearer took over the hotel after their father’s death, and in 1917 they renamed it “The Argonne” for the Argonne forest in France where they had seen military service. In 1938 Beauford Swartz became the owner of the hotel and decided to modernize. He put air conditioning in the building and returned the exterior to its original brick facade. In 1939, Mr. Swartz deemed the hotel suitable to know hold its original owner’s name and so it became the “The James Wilson Hotel.” At some point after being named “The James Wilson Hotel” and before becoming Safe Harbour, Inc., the establishment turned from a hotel to a rooming house. In 1985, the building was considered for use as a long-term shelter, and was then purchased in 1985 to become the current day Safe Harbour.
Within the Wilson building, there are five rooms for single females and four rooms for families in Short-Term Emergency Shelter. Each area provides a shared kitchen facility and shared bathrooms with showers. Long-Term Temporary Housing provides 11 rooms for individuals and eight family suites. Permanent housing provides 14 rooms for individuals.
Immediately adjacent to the James Wilson Facility is Wilson House Apartments. Opened in March 2007, this building provides five apartments for Permanent Housing, including two for families and three for individuals. Housing is available for individuals and couples who receive Section 8 Housing Assistance through the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD).
Located on N. West Street in Carlisle, Harbour Place offers five single-occupancy apartments for Permanent Housing. Similar to the Wilson House Apartments, Section 8 HUD housing vouchers are accepted.