Most of the land that would become the City of Lancaster was owned by Andrew Hamilton. The settlement here was known as “Hickory Town” and dated to 1709. Andrew’s son James was deeded 500 acres of this land in 1733, and designed the layout of the city in a plan of straight streets and rectangular property lots. Lancaster thus became the first inland city in the United States. Still very much linking to England, the new town adopted the symbol of the red rose from the mother country. The town became a borough in 1742 and a chartered city in 1818.
During the Revolutionary War, Lancaster was an important munitions center, and when the British captured Philadelphia the Continental Congress headed here, the largest inland city in America at the time. The Congress only stayed a day, however, September 27, 1777, before moving on to York where they could put the Susquehanna River between them and the British.
The colonial city owed its early prosperity to its strategic position at a transportation crossroads. After the American Revolution, the city of Lancaster became an iron-foundry center. Two of the most common products needed by pioneers to settle the Frontier were manufactured in Lancaster: the Conestoga wagon and the Pennsylvania long rifle. The Conestoga wagon was named after the Conestoga River, which runs through the city.
In 1795 the Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike opened, linking the two cities. It was considered the first engineered long-distance road in the United States, designed by Scottish engineer John Loudon MacAdam. It became the first paved road in the country and later a link in the Lincoln Highway, the first transcontinental road.
Our walking tour will head right down that historic road in the center of Lancaster, starting in a town square that existed in the original platting of the town as “Centre Square” but is known today as Penn Square...
Soldiers and Sailors Monument
northeast corner of Penn Square at King Street and Queen Street
The Soldier and Sailor Monument has stood as the symbolic centerpiece of Lancaster since July 4, 1874. The monument’s original intention was to pay tribute to Lancastrian Union soldiers killed during the American Civil War but has since come to represent those killed in all American conflicts. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument stands on the exact spot where the Second Continental Congress met during the Revolutionary War on September 27, 1777, in the old Lancaster Courthouse. The courthouse burned down in 1784. Lewis Haldy designed the 43-foot tall Gothic Revival monument of Rhode Island granite. The monument has been listed on the National Register of Historic Places since April 2, 1973.
CROSS THE STREET TO THE LANCASTER VISITORS CENTER AND BEGIN YOUR TOUR OF PENN SQUARE, WALKING CLOCKWISE.
The Lancaster Cultural History Museum
1-3 West King Street
Originally commissioned as “a public office house” in 1795, this three-and-one-half-story brick building laid in Flemish bond, is one of Lancaster’s most important Georgian structures. The building features decorative accents cut in stone, including arches, keystones and belt courses. The business of the Commonwealth was conducted here when Lancaster was the capital of the state from 1799 to 1812 and later served as Lancaster’s City Hall from 1854 until 1930. Now a museum and visitor center, it has also been used as a Masonic lodge meeting hall, a post office and a library. It is the oldest building on Penn Square.
northwest corner of Penn Square
A market has operated in this vicinity since Lancaster’s founding in 1730, making Central Market the oldest continuously operating farmer’s market in the United States. The current building dates to 1889 and was constructed of locally produced brick with twin towers and a centered gable. One of the best examples of Romanesque Revival architecture in Lancaster County, it sits on a a base of rock-faced brownstone with similar decoration given to window heads and sills. It was designed by Philadelphia architect James H. Warner.
King Street and Queen Street
At 14 stories and 187 feet, the Griest Building is Lancaster’s only classical skyscraper. Faced in Indiana limestone and terra cotta on the top two floors, it was designed in the Beaux Arts style in 1925 by Lancaster’s most prominent architect C. Emlen Urban. There are Corinthian pilasters at the ground level and at the twelfth floor. When constructed the Griest Building was a showcase of local craftsmanship; the interior featureda large two-story lobby with Tennessee marble floors and Italian marble railings and wall bases. The walls and ceilings were decorated with fresco-covered plaster. The original interior design has been significantly altered. William Walton Griest was an influential Republican Congressman and president of the Lancaster Public Utilities. The Hirsch Building was demolished to make way for this building at the town’s most important intersection in 1924. It was constructed to house the offices of The Conestoga Traction Company, The Edison Electric Company, and The Lancaster Gas Light and Fuel Company.
CROSS OVER QUEEN STREET AND KING STREET TO CONTINUE AROUND PENN SQUARE.
Lancaster County Convention Center
southeast corner of Penn Square
Anchoring Downtown Lancaster and boldly incorporating the 110-year-old Beaux Arts facade of the historic former Watt & Shand department store, the integrated convention center / hotel facility offers a combined 90,000 square feet of meeting space and the latest technology for conventions, events, and trade shows. Designed by C. Emlen Urban with four imposing stories of buff brick with elaborate terra cotta and marble ornamentation, this Watt & Shand icon anchored downtown retail from 1898 until 1995. The original Watt & Shand store opened on this site in 1878. Its towering columns and ornate facade are a distinguished example of the Beaux-Arts style often used by Urban. Major additions extending west toward South Queen Street were built between 1916 and 1925.
EXIT PENN SQUARE BY WALKING SOUTH ON QUEEN STREET.
Jasper Yeates House
24-26 South Queen Street
Built by John Miller, a blacksmith, hardware merchant, land speculator, and founder of the nearby town of Millersville, this Georgian house was built from 1765-1766 and considered the finest in town in its day. The exterior design illustrates the close relation of high-style Lancaster architecture to its Philadelphia relatives.
Two hundred years later the building was no longer recognizable as the one that graced pre-Revolutionary Lancaster streets. A fourth story was added in 1882 and a modern storefront was installed in the 1950s. A major restoration in the 1970s restored the building to its original appearance. It carries the name of Jasper Yeates, attorney and judge, and a delegate to the Pennsylvania Convention for ratification of the U.S. Constitution in 1787. Yeates lived here from 1775 to 1817.
William Montgomery House
19-21 South Queen Street
This townhouse, thoroughly restored, is one of Lancaster’s finest Federal period mansions. Built circa 1804 for William Montgomery, it is the only documented local work by architect Stephen Hills, designer of the first Capitol building in Harrisburg. William Montgomery was a prominent Lancaster attorney with numerous real estate investments. In 1820, he purchased Rock Ford, the former home of General Edward Hand located in Lancaster’s Central Park, for use as a tenant farm. The parapeted chimney and fanlight window on the south gable wall are original.
Home and Office of Thaddeus Stevens
45-47 South Queen Street
Another complete restoration has brought this building back to the days when it was the home and law office of Lancaster attorney, U.S. Congressman, and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens from 1843 until his death in 1868. During the presidency of Abraham Lincoln, Stevens served as chairman of the powerful House Ways and Means Committee. After the Civil War, he led the Radical Republicans and pushed for strict enforcement of civil rights for freed African Americans, guiding the passage of the Thirteenth and Fourteenth Amendments.
100 South Queen Street at southwest corner of Vine Street
The Farmers’ Southern Market is the only one of the four major private markets constructed during the 19th century that has remained largely intact. Built in the Queen Anne style in 1888, this large, richly detailed markethouse was the first large scale work by architect C. Emlen Urban, designed when he was only 25 years old. With a width of 90 feet and a length of 250 feet, this large building is spanned by an arched roof. The corner towers have pyramidal roofs with dormer windows. The date “1888” appears in terra cotta within the center pediment, flanked by round medallions containing the heads of a bull and ram -- appropriate ornamentation for a former farmers’ market.
RETRACE YOUR STEPS ONE BLOCK TO KING STREET AND TURN RIGHT.
18 East King Street
Throughout the nineteenth century and for much of the first half of the twentieth century, this first block of East King boasted numerous businesses selling varied merchandise, including shoes, hardware, fruit, groceries, china, furniture, wine, carpets, jewelry and dry goods. This building dates to about 1910 andhoused the Stauffer & Breneman clothing store in the 1920s, followed in the 1930s by a men’s clothing store owned by Edwin Piersol. The letter “E” that appears in the carved cartouche on the parapet may stand for Mr. Piersol, or his wife Elizabeth. The brick storefront façade is an alteration but the second and third floors are likely original.
Lancaster County Courthouse
43 East King Street
This is the third county courthouse; the first two brick buildings stood a block away on Penn Square, then known as Centre Square. The grand building has evolved and expanded through the decades. The oldest section of this monumental cut-stone building was constructed between 1852-1854 in Roman Revival temple form by nationally respected Philadelphia architect, Samuel Sloan. The T-shaped rear wing was added in 1896 from the pen of local architect James H. Warner. Warner, who designed the Central Market, matched the materials and details of Sloans’ original building. In 1927, ow wings flanking the exterior staircase were built from designs by C. Emlen Urban to blend with the previous construction. The cupola contains a clock with four dials and a statue of Justice holding scales sits atop the central dome.
Farmer’s Trust Company
46-52 East King Street
Built for the Farmer’s Trust Company in 1929 and designed by Lancaster architect Melvern R. Evans, this bank building reflects the Georgian Revival style of the early twentieth century. The façade of this brick building features three dormers on the mansard roof, set behind a cement balustrade. Two large windows flank the center entry door, which is topped by a decorative cement swag.
TURN RIGHT ON DUKE STREET.
Trinity Lutheran Church
31 South Duke Street
Formally organized in 1730, Trinity is the oldest church in Lancaster and one of the oldest in Pennsylvania. The congregation worshipped in a small stone church on Duke of Cumberland Street for thirty years. Construction of the present brick building began in 1761. In 1766 the new church was dedicated with Henry Melchior Muhlenberg, the patriarch of the Lutheran Church in America, officiating. The 195-foot tower was added to the Georgian rectangular building in 1794, and the two vestibules were added in 1853.
RETURN TO EAST KING STREET AND TURN RIGHT.
105 East King Street
The Buck Tavern operated on this site as early as 1765, and later served as the Leopard Hotel until the property was purchased by Samuel R. Weber in 1903. He built the Hotel Weber which later became the King Douglas. The building continued to function as a hotel through the 1980s.
110-112 East King Street
The oldest sections of this building pre-date the American Revolution. The arched dormer windows with applied keystones reflect high-style from the 1700s, while the bracketed cornice beneath the roof reflects a remodeling in the 1800s. The row of shopfront-residences at 106 through 124 East King all pre-date 1810, representing the largest group of buildings from this period still surviving within the city.
Demuth Tobacco Shop
114-116 East King Street
This is believed to be the oldest tobacco shop in the U.S. owned continuously by the same family for over two centuries. Established by Christopher Demuth in 1770, it was first remodeled about 1840, and a Victorian store-front was added about 1875. It was remodeled again in 1917 in the Colonial Revival style, designed by C. Emlen Urban.
118-120 East King Street
John Messencope, a blacksmith, built this house around 1760. He operated the William Pitt, Earl of Chatham tavern here. By the late 1800s, the building was owned by H.C. Demuth, owner of the tobacco store next door. The renowned modernist artist Charles Demuth moved with his family from 109 North Lime Street to this house in 1889, at the age of six, and died here in 1935. The building now houses the Demuth Museum, accessed through a side alleyway leading to the rear courtyard and gardens.
121 East King Street
William Bausman, a German settler, created this cut-sandstone five-bay façade house with Georgian features in 1762; it is unique in an area dominated by brick buildings. Bausman became prominent in Lancaster’s Colonial-era government and served as Chief Burgess (a position comparable to the modern office of mayor) and also ran a tavern next door. A datestone lies between two second-floor windows and, at the corner of the cornice, the sculpted head of an “eavesdropper” peers down at pedestrians.
124 East King Street
Built as a residence in 1802, this structure is one of the latest pure Georgian house styles in Lancaster City, seen in the brick watertable and the belt course between the first and second floors. Although the first-floor façade was altered in the 1870s, its Georgian features were restored in 1978. Showing how new and old architecture can sympathetically co-exist in Lancaster, the adjoining brick building at 126 East King, housing law offices, was constructed in 1983-1984.
125 East King Street
John Sprenger established a brewery on this site in the 1850s. In 1873, he built Excelsior Hall next door, which functioned as a beer hall, public hall, meeting hall, and occasional hotel. The family lost the properties, some of the most valuable private holdings in the town at a sheriff’s sale in 1880, and the Sprenger Brewery moved to a new site at South Lime and Locust Streets. Meanwhile this became home to the Westenberger, Maley, and Myers furniture store. Excelsior Hall’s ornate Victorian façade and mansard roof were restored by the City of Lancaster in the 1990s.
Sign of the Ship
171 East King Street
This Colonial tavern, built in 1761, picked upa Victorian storefront and third-story mansard roof a century later. In the 1880s, the property housed George Brady’s bread and cake bakery; the baking was done in the rear wing along North Lime Street. Fisher & Brothers grocery store became the occupant in the 1890s. The building was severely damaged by fire in 2002 but was quickly restored.
204 East King Street
This is the oldest building on the block, erected in the 1780s. It was a fashionable home as evidenced bythe dormer windows with rounded tops, keystones over the windows, the belt course between the first and second floors, and a brick watertable. The house seen today is the result of an enlargement in 1815.
208 East King Street
This little building only dates to the 1920s and is a whimsical example of the Colonial Revival style that gripped America in the beginning of the last century. There is a broken pediment over the entry door, topped with an urn. Just above is a miniature three-part Palladian window. The windows, including the modern glass storefronts on the ground floor are decorated with stone keystones and angled bricks.
212-212A East King Street
This building was constructed in 1860, but picked up its current Romanesque form in the 1890s when architect C. Emlen Urban moved here. Urban lived in this building until 1914.
224 East King Street
This two-story, multi-hued brick meeting hall was built in 1931. Its Colonial Revival façade is characterized by the twin arched entries and concrete ornamentation above the windows and doors.
William Peiper Mansion
235 East King Street
This was the home of Colonel William Peiper, cashier of the Lancaster County National Bank. He started the house, constructed of red pressed brick, in 1879 but died suddenly in 1881 before it could be finished. His widow took on the task of putting the finishing touches of a rare Eastlake house in Lancaster. The façade presents elaborate brownstone carvings, incised trim around the windows, and use of ornamental iron. After Mrs. Peiper’s death in 1914 the building was sold in to a local fraternal organization.
308 East King Street
Built on the site of the Colonial era Indian Queen tavern, this is one of five Victorian-era markethouses that once served Lancaster. Constructed in 1883 in the Second Empire style with a three-story corner tower with bell-curved roof, it was designed by builder-architect John Evans. When first opened, Eastern Market contained 168 farmers’ stalls and 23 butchers’ stalls. When Eastern Market closed in 1927, large plate-glass display windows were added when the and used as an automobile salesroom. An outdoor summer farmer’s market was reintroduced at the site in 2006.
402 East King Street
Edward Stewart built this brick inn in 1807; the oldest structurealong the 400 block. The dormer windows and brick watertable are original. It continued to operate almost 200 years - until 2002 - and is one of Lancaster’s few early tavern buildings that still survives.
409 East King Street
This excellent Colonial Revival example from the early 1900s has an elliptical fanlight and leaded-glass sidelights surrounding the entry door, an address stone to the left of the doorway, and an oval 1915 datestone on the gable-end wall above the side porch.
419 East King Street
Dating from 1895, this brick building is an excellent example of the Chateauesque style, resembling a castle or French chateau, with a steep pyramidal roof and a railing along the ridge, and beige cut-stone frames surrounding the windows and door. Part of the eastern section of the original building was demolished to make way for construction of the adjacent movie theatre.
423 East King Street
Built between 1948 and 1950 as the King Theatre, this Art Deco entertainment center featured marble decoration at the lobby entry. The tall front wall makes this one-story building appear to have a second floor, while the brickwork in the central section gives the wall an accordion-like appearance. In an early “adaptive reuse” project, this theater was converted into 43 senior citizen apartments about 1990.
TURN AND WALK ONE-HALF BLOCK BACK TO PLUM STREET AND TURN RIGHT. TURN LEFT ON ORANGE STREET.
northwest corner of Orange Street and Shippen Street
This house, of true Georgian style, was built about 1750. John Passmore, first mayor of Lancaster, occupied the house at one time.
TURN RIGHT ON SHIPPEN STREET. TURN LEFT ON MARION STREET. TURN RIGHT ON LIME STREET.
Lancaster Mansion of Art
135 North Lime Street
Currently the home of the Lancaster Museum of Art, the Grubb Mansion is one of Lancaster County’s best examples of the Greek Revival style. It was built in 1845 by ironmaster Clement Bates Grubb. The house still sits on its own city block, now known as Musser Park. The museum was founded in 1965 in the building.
WALK SOUTH ON LIME STREET BACK TO ORANGE STREET AND CROSS IT.
John Black Mansion
47 North Lime Street
This is one of the few examples of the Greek Revival style in Lancaster. Built in 1852, this mansion’s classical details include the entry porch supported by thick Tuscan columns and the sidelights flanking the front door. The house was remodeled in the 1880s to add elements of the newly fashionable Queen Anne style, including the multi-paned window sash and ornamental chimneys.
Frank Furness House
24 North Lime Street
This is Lancaster’s only known work by the celebrated Philadelphia Victorian architect Frank Furness. Furness was famous for his picturesque train stations, banks, churches and ornate homes. This L-shaped brick house from 1886-1888 features a combination of gabled and hipped roofs, a side porch with bracketed posts, and a sandstone water table.
WALK NORTH ON LIME STREET BACK TO ORANGE STREET AND TURN LEFT.
northwest corner of Orange Street and Lime Street
This is the site of a house occupied from 1751-1781 by Edward Shippen; lawyer, judge, Chairman Committee of Observation, and grand-father of Peggy Shippen, who would marry Benedict Arnold. An earlier occupant was Thomas Cookson, first Burgess of Lancaster Borough.
Reuben Baer Mansion
141 East Orange Street
This residence was built in 1874 for Reuben Baer, a partner in the firm that published the popular Baer’s Almanac. It is Lancaster’s best example of an asymmetrical Italianate villa.
First Presbyterian Church
140 East Orange Street
The earliest mention of a Presbyterian ministry in Lancaster dates from 1742. For many years, services were held in the first Lancaster County Courthouse, which once stood in Penn Square. The church acquired part of its present lot in 1763, and the first building on the site was built in 1770. The current Greek Revival building was built in 1851. President James Buchanan and Congressman Thaddeus Stevens were both members here.
106 East Orange Street
Named in honor of James Hamilton, a prominent political figure in Colonial America and planner of the City of Lancaster, the Hamilton Club was founded in 1889 by 31 prominent citizens seeking a private place to gather in the City of Lancaster. From 1889-1899 the Club leased a building at 39 North Duke Street; from 1899 - 1912, it was located at 37 East Orange Street; in 1912 members purchased the current building, constructed in 1890 as a private residence for Catherine Haldeman Long. It is considered the earliest domestic example of the “Chateauesque” style in Lancaster County.
St. James Episcopal Church
119 North Duke Street, at northeast corner of East Orange Street
The congregation was founded in 1744 and the original structure was built between 1746 and 1753; this building was begun in 1820 as a Federal style brick building but was covered in the 1880s with dark pressed brick to give it a Romanesque look. George Ross, signer of the Declaration of Independence, was vestryman. Buried in the walled cemetery, just west of Cherry Street, are the patriots Edward Shippen, William Atlee, Edward Hand, and Jasper Yeates. It is the most intact eighteenth-century cemetery within city limits.
40 East Orange Street
A congregation of German, Swiss, and French settlers formed about 1729 and the log church they built here in 1736 was Lancaster’s first. It was followed by a stone building in 1753 and this brick church in 1854. Philip Otterbein, William Hendel, and Henry Harbaugh were eminent pastors.
TURN RIGHT ON QUEEN STREET. TURN LEFT ON CHESTNUT STREET.
11-17 West Chestnut Street
This golden brick store and apartment building was designed by C. Emlen Urban and constructed in 1898 for Long and Davidson, wholesale shoe dealers, It features terra cotta decorations and a metal cornice.
Miller & Hartman Building
21-23 West Chestnut Street
Built in 1873 as Miller & Hartman, wholesale grocery store and warehouse, this building has Lancaster’s only intact cast iron storefront.
Lancaster Post Office
50 West Chestnut Street
A monumental Beaux Arts building constructed in 1929, this building displays classical motifs of pilasters, dentiled cornice and stylized eagle on its limestone façade.
Detour: To see some of Lancaster’s most beautiful Victorian residences, continue on Chestnut Street; otherwise turn left on Prince Street and pick up the tour at Stop 54.
St. John’s Episcopal Church
321 West Chestnut Street, at northwest corner of Mulberry Street
St. John’s was founded in 1853 at its present location on Chestnut and Mulberry Streets. It was the first Episcopal congregation in Pennsylvania to be established without a pew rental system, and so was called St. John’s Free Church. Wealthy and poor parishioners were able to come together as equals in their worship of God, an unusual practice at that time for Episcopal congregations. The original Brick Gothic church building was constructed in 1853 and rebuilt in 1938, after a fire. The Parish House, located just to the west, is an excellent example of Gothic residential architecture.
Thaddeus Stevens Girls High School
northeast corner of Chestnut and Charlotte Streets
This beautiful three-story building was designed in the Beaux Arts style by C. Emlen Urban. Now an apartment building, this former public school features a third floor auditorium with French Renaissance style plasterwork.
TURN RIGHT ON NORTH CHARLOTTE STREET.
233 North Charlotte Street
Designed by Philadelphia architects Hazelhurst and Huckels, this elaborate Queen Anne style house was constructed in 1883-1885 for William Zahm Sener, a wealthy businessman.
Charles Steinman Foltz House
249 North Charlotte Street
The three-story brick-and-stucco house displays the projecting eaves and simple finishes characteristic of the popular Arts and Crafts movement. The house was constructed in 1897-1899, from designs by William Pritchett, Jr.
TURN LEFT ON WALNUT STREET.
412-422 West Walnut Street
These six dwellings were built by Barton B. Martin in 1883, for speculative rental and resale purposes. This is one of the best preserved Victorian rows of houses in Lancaster. Fine Italianate style details include the bracketed cornices, arched and ornamented hood molds over the windows, and bracketed entry hoods.
TURN LEFT ON LANCASTER AVENUE.
238 Lancaster Avenue
Constructed in 1893 as the Western Methodist Episcopal Church, this Gothic Revival style building combines the massing of the Perpendicular Gothic style and wooden ornamental details in the simpler Carpenter Gothic style. Highlights include the two towers and a large Gothic multi-arched window.
TURN LEFT ON CHESTNUT STREET.
Jonas B. Martin Mansion
423 West Chestnut Street
Queen Anne style details are evident in this house constructed in the 1880s. The multi-intersecting gables, projecting dormers, and ornate chimney stacks are just some the lavish ornamental features of this building. It was built for the brother of lumber baron Barton B. Martin whose house was...
403 West Chestnut Street
This three-story mansion is one of Lancaster County’s finest examples of the Second Empire style, and one of the outstanding villas in Pennsylvania. It was constructed in 1873-1874 for Barton B. Martin, a wealthy lumber and coal merchant, and real estate developer. Notable features include the mansard roof with dormer windows, window caps with console brackets, and reconstructed porch with Corinthian columns.
402 West Chestnut Street
This Queen Anne style house was built in 1883. This mansion displays half-timbered gables, clustered chimney stacks, stained glass window, and an original entry porch.
WALK EAST ON CHESTNUT STREET TO REJOIN THE TOUR AT PRINCE STREET AND TURN RIGHT.
Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House
123 North Prince Street
This building has been the home of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County since 1966, when a group of preservation advocates saved it from being demolished as part of an urban renewal project. Soon afterward, the house was extensively renovated to reflect its appearance in the 18th century The house was once the home of Andrew Ellicott, a surveyor who completed Pierre L’Enfant’s plan for Washington, D.C. In 1803, Meriwether Lewis visited Ellicott to learn the latest surveying techniques in preparation for his 1804 expedition with William Clark. An exhibition in the house recounts key moments in Ellicott’s career.
Fulton Opera House
12 North Prince Street
Christopher Hager, a Lancaster merchant and civic leader, had a dream - to create a building that would serve as a community center for meetings, lectures, concerts, and theatrical performances. He commissioned the renowned Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan to create this building, which was erected in 1852. Named Fulton Hall, after the county’s steam engine pioneer, Robert Fulton, it was built on the foundation of Lancaster’s pre-Revolutionary jail, where in 1763, a vigilante gang known as the “Paxtang Boys” massacred the last of the Conestoga Indians being held there for their protection. This was a monumental event throughout the colonies and became the subject matter for the first plays ever written on American soil - A Dialogue Between Andrew Trueman and Thomas Zealot About the Killing the Indians at Cannestogoe and Lancaster and The Paxton Boys, a Farce. The exterior wall of the jail courtyard is now the back wall of the theatre. From a meeting hall, to the “Queen of the Roadhouses” through vaudeville, the movies, near destruction, salvation and on to the cutting edge of contemporary theatre, the history of the Fulton Opera House, considered to be the nation’s oldest continuously operating theatre, is one of only eight theaters to be named a National Historic Landmark. Many of the “greats” of the American and International stage have performed on her boards. The list is extensive and includes most of the Barrymore family, Sarah Bernhardt, W. C. Fields, Alfred Lunt, Al Jolson, and Irene Dunne, Mark Twain, a young actress named Helen Brown (later known as Helen Hayes), Marcel Marceau and hundreds more.
TURN AND WALK BACK TO ORANGE STREET. TURN RIGHT. TURN RIGHT ON QUEEN STREET.
43-45 North Queen Street
This 1925 building was constructed of “Straub blocks,” a type of cement building material developed in Lancaster. The façade has a streamlined look that reflects tastes of the day. The first tenant in this building was the Ross Store, Lancaster’s first chain department store.
Reilly Brothers & Raub Building
44 North Queen Street
This building has one of the most intact original storefronts along this stretch of North Queen, the oldest retail block in the city. Built in 1911 as a hardware store, it was designed by C. Emlen Urban in a French Renaissance style. While the city’s other commercial buildings typically used brick, tile and terra cotta, this refined façade employs granite, Indiana limestone and copper. The original metal signage appears just above the storefront opening, while the tall paired windows on the upper floors are separated by copper friezes.
New Era Building
39-41 North Queen Street
This circa 1890 Queen Anne style brick building is crowned by a cornice of corbelled brick, wood and pressed metal with a center pediment framing a sunburst motif, beneath which is the original “New Era” signage. Designed initially to be a tavern, the building was sold before construction was completed to the New Era printing company.
Shaub’s Shoe Store
20 North Queen Street
Built in 1929, this store represents one of the most intact Art Deco style buildings in Lancaster. It is also among the oldest businesses in the city to be owned by the same family and operated continuously at the original site. Art Deco ornamentation includes the decorative geometric band along the roof cornice, the cast metal framing the second floor, the lamp hanging above the arched doorway to the right, and the rich inlaid wood panels inside the display windows.
YOU HAVE NOW RETURNED TO THE TOUR STARTING POINT IN PENN SQUARE.