Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County to Document Mayer-Hess Farmstead History

The Mayer Mansion

The Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County will collaborate with Manbel Devco to document the buildings and history of the Mayer-Hess Farmstead (c. 1870-1874) at 1580 Fruitville Pike.  The farmstead is across the street from the 71 acres that has been approved by Manheim Township for the Shoppes at Belmont.  The farmstead’s mansion and surrounding area have been separated from the development and will be protected.

“While we have had concerns about this property for many years, we are pleased to know that developer Phil Frey and his team are conscientious about saving the mansion and carefully documenting those buildings that are being saved but in a new location,” said Lisa Horst, president of the Preservation Trust Board of Directors. “We were hoping all buildings would remain on the farmstead.  That could have been a possibility many years ago before Fruitville Pike became a commercial area so we agree that relocating the barn and other buildings to Ironstone Ranch, 17 miles away in West Donegal Township, is an acceptable alternative.”

Plans for the development include interpretive trails that will explain the farm’s history and the significance of the lime kilns, the cemetery and the wet lands.  The Shoppes at Belmont is a mixed-use development that will feature single-family homes, town homes and 370,000 square feet of retail space.

“We are pleased to be working with the Historic Preservation Trust and its archivists as we strive to maintain the historical character of the mansion and open the property to the general public with interpretive trails,” said Phil Frey, principal owner of Manbel Devco.  “Our goal is to work with Ironstone Ranch as the barn and other buildings are disassembled and then reconstructed on the ranch.”

The last remaining farmstead off Route 30, before entering downtown Lancaster, is best recognized for the distinguished Italianate style mansion built by David Mayer in the 1870 to 1874 time period.  The mansion is a three-story, five-bay residence complemented by a central cupola with a bracketed cornice. “Since the neighboring Red Rose Commons Shopping Center was opened in 1998, the buildings on the farmstead have been in decline,” Horst said. “Phil Frey plans to restore the mansion as a priority and to add iron fencing typical of that used in gardens in the 19th century.  Adaptive reuse of historic buildings is something that the Preservation Trust encourages, and that is what will be happening at this Lancaster landmark.”

Horst added, “The Preservation Trust hopes our collaboration with Manbel Devco demonstrates how a positive outcome is possible when developers, builders and property owners work together to find acceptable solutions to historical preservation challenges.”

Documentation compiled by the Preservation Trust will be added to its archives of more than 10,000 historic structures – the largest descriptive files of historic properties in Lancaster County.

About the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County Founded in 1966 to “stem the rapid destruction of historic properties in Lancaster County,” the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County’s mission is to encourage and facilitate historic preservation countywide. The trust has been directly involved in preserving important Lancaster County landmarks and has provided advice, assistance and guidance in the protection of others.  The trust is a member-supported, 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the historic Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House (1787) at 123 North Prince Street in downtown Lancaster.  Visit www.hptrust.org for additional information.

About the Shoppes at Belmont A project of Manbel Devco, the Shoppes at Belmont will be a mixed-use development that incorporates retail and residential uses, preservation of historic elements, traffic improvement and multimodal accessibility and provides for farmland preservation.  The mixed-use development will feature single family homes, town homes and 370,000 square feet of retail space. In partnership with Manbel Developers are R. J. Waters & Associates and Charter Homes & Neighborhoods.  Phil and Nick Frey are partners in Manbel Devco, and their family has been active residents of Lancaster County since 1758. View www.shoppesatbelmont.com for additional information.