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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.…


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…


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…

Windsor Forge Mansion

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…


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…


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,…

Central Market

Lancaster Architecture 1719-1927: Victorian Romanesque Revival

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…


History of Conestoga Township: A rich cultural context that is reflected in its architecture and rural countryside

The Conestoga area retains a rich cultural context that is reflected in the period and style of its architecture and rural countryside. Conestoga Township was named for the Conestoga River, which in turn was named for a noted local tribe of Native Americans. In the earliest days of settlement, the term “Conestoga” was used as…


C. Emlen Urban: John Reynolds Middle School on West Walnut Street

For more than 45 years, the prolific 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 1929 West Walnut Street structure. The John Reynolds Middle School, located at 605 West Walnut Street, may be the last complete building C. Emlen…

Christian Herr House. 1719

Lancaster County Architectural Styles: Germanic

Germanic circa 1710 – 1770 The house known as the Herr House was built by Christian Herr in 1719 as a home for his aging parents, Hans and Elizabeth, but also as a Mennonite meetinghouse. The home was erected on a hill, in a style that could be traced back to the Roman occupation of…