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History of Columbia: 1738 Wright’s Ferry Mansion

38 South 2nd Street 1738 Wright’s Ferry Mansion, initially owned by the English Quaker, Susanna Wright, was built in 1738 on the 100-acre tract of land that she had purchased in 1726 when the area was isolated wilderness and still part of Chester County. It would be another three years before Lancaster County was formed.…

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Lancaster Architecture 1719-1927: Queen Anne

Because Lancaster was founded nearly 300 years ago, it is often called a colonial town. However, less than ten percent of the city’s buildings that existed in 1800 now survive. Today, in both city and county, the overall visual character is one of contrast, with the numerous eclectic styles from the long Victorian period, lasting…

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Conestoga Township: The Historic Village at Safe Harbor

Safe Harbor Village Drive Conestoga, PA 1929-1932 In 1846, Reeves Abbott & Company from Philadelphia selected the Safe Harbor area to build the Safe Harbor Iron Works. The location for the industry was ideal with the downriver navigation and canals on both the Susquehanna and Conestoga Rivers. Construction of the Historic Safe Harbor Village and…

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C. Emlen Urban: Southern Market Center on South Queen Street

For more than 45 years, the prolific C. Emlen Urban created many of the historic landmarks that are fundamental to the beloved character of Lancaster City. In this post, we will examine Urban’s 1888 Southern Market Center located at 100 South Queen Street. Southern Market Emlen Urban’s first major commission was the Southern Market structure.…

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History of Columbia: Bruner Mansion

226 Cherry Street 1870 After the death of John Wright Jr., land that was part of the Wright Cherry Orchard was divided and sold. One of the former orchard plots was sold to Sarah Jane Bruner and her husband, Abraham. It was on that piece of land that Abraham built a two-and-a-half-story brick Italianate-style residence.…

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Lancaster County Architectural Styles: Federal

Federal circa 1790 – 1830 The term “Federal” came into popular use in the United States after the Constitution was adopted in 1789, as an expression of pride in the new nation. In architecture, it was applied to what might be called the first American style, which typified the desire for change toward a new…

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Conestoga Township: Safe Harbor Hydroelectric Plant

1 Powerhouse Road Conestoga, PA 1930-1931 The Dam at Safe Harbor The original portion of the Safe Harbor plant is representative of early modern industrial design. Taken from the tradition of grand halls, markets and train stations, the building is designed with a sense of strength, interior openness, and verticality. The building is functional, as…

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Hidden Treasures: Windsor Forge Mansion

The beautiful mansion house and several outbuildings are all that remains of the colonial iron plantation known as Windsor Forges. Windsor’s two forges were located on the eastern branch of the Conestoga south of Churchtown. In 1732, John Jenkins received a land grant of 400 acres from the Penn Family. In 1742, this was sold…

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C. Emlen Urban: Unitarian Universalist Church on West Chestnut Street

For more than 45 years, the prolific C. Emlen Urban created many of the historic landmarks that are fundamental to the beloved character of Lancaster City. In this post, we will examine Urban’s 1908 West Chestnut Street church. Unitarian Universalist Church The Unitarian Universalist Church, located at the corner of Chestnut and Pine Streets, is…

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History of Columbia: Columbia Borough Office / Opera House

308 Locust Street 1875 During the latter part of the 19th century, the railroad continued to expand, and the discovery of iron ore deposits led to the beginning of the iron industry in Columbia. By 1887, thirteen blast furnaces were operating within a three-mile radius of the town. Factories producing silk, textiles, stoves, baked goods,…