Archive for February, 2012

Klein – Lancaster in the 20th Century

February 29, 2012

The first two decades of the twentieth century brought many changes to Lancaster.  These changes related to the industrialization of the city.  The city itself was growing rapidly in terms of population and industry.  Economic development was underway not just in Lancaster, but the United States as a whole. Progress was being made to modes of transportation; electric railway systems were being put into place.  Factories that produced materials were becoming a staple of Lancaster manufacturers.  Some companies that contributed to this were wood, iron, and linoleum producing firms.  The need for expansion and growth was mostly due to the rise in population.  Many of the buildings covered in class were generally larger in size, thus pushing for growth in Lancaster.  A select few of the buildings functioned as stores, which sheds light on the need for such outlets in society. In fact, real estate developments were being made in the early 1900s.  Typically, the buildings the class studied also contained office and residential space.  The demand for architects such as C. Elmen Urban was incredibly high during this period, which is most likely why he went on a “designing splurge”.  All in all, Lancaster was a seed that needed to be watered during the beginning of the 20th century.  These advancements shaped the city into what it is today, and are illustrated by the buildings that are visible.

Klein reading

February 28, 2012

Between 1891 and 1911, Lancaster underwent a massive transformation. Lancaster changed from a small town to a bustling city of steam and steal.  Architects needed to accommodate for the tribulations and progressions that came hand in hand with this rapid urbanization and industrialization.

Early 20th century Lancaster businesses were expanding at rapid rates. A severe example of this rapid growth was the Krieder and Company shoe manufacturers who went from producing 200 to 2500 pairs of shoes a day. With this kind of exponential growth the building that enterprises were asking from architects had much more extreme needs in utilitas. One example that comes to mind is Keppel’s Wholesale Confectionery.  The building required multiple functions and so the architect (C. Emlen Urban) divided the building into two separate entities, a factory section and an administrative section. This is just one way that the increased utilitas demands were met.

Early 20th century Lancaster population was increasing so rapidly that the water works system wasn’t capable of purifying all the city’s water (117). The rising population spurred the need for increased housing and caused the real estate business to blossom. One point we have noted in many of the buildings we have looked at were the residential units on the upper floors. This certainly related to the booming real estate business of the early 20th century.

The article also talked about buildings increasing exterior appeal (pg. 130) to draw in more costumers. It was likely more difficult to stand apart in this increasingly energetic environment. This is likely why buildings like Shaub’s exposed almost their entire store with a two-story window to draw more customers in.

The major point I took away from this article was that as the city began to flourish and industrialize the buildings took on more functions and the architecture had to grapple this new utilitas by ch

Klein Reading

February 25, 2012

Lancaster County

 After reading “Lancaster County 1841-1941” by Frederic Shriver Klein, I learned that there were a great deal of factors and important issues to consider within Lancaster during the late 19th century and early 20th century.  It is interesting to note that there are some similarities between the issues in the early 20th century compared to those we are faced with today.  For instance, a few of the issues presented within the article are as follows:

  • Incorporating electricity into their stores
    • lighting and gas
    • use of elevators, electric fans and electric lights
  • For crop growers; finding favorable weather
    • Since tobacco was a huge industry during this time, they depended on the weather
  • The inherent need to adapt to an ever growing population
    • The population grew from 17,000 to 46,000 in the matter of 40 years (1860-1900)
    •  accommodating these people into new jobs and occupations
    • assist in the grow of demands of the people
    • create new industries to foster their demands for lighting/electricity and other modern technologies that came to light during the 19th century
  • Along with the growing population, they needed to find adequate space to house the many up and coming industries (which include Brewing industries, the Helvetia Leather Company, The Keystone Lock Works, tool manufacturers and more)
    • Over one hundred new industries had come into existence over a short period of time
  • Adapting to new materials
    • First brick industries were popular, then the rise of steel and iron came into play
  • The use of automobiles and it’s effect on the public
    • Accommodating the street to incorporate automobiles, wagons, trolleys and pedestrians
    • The rise of traffic rules, macadam streets and gasoline stations (121)

One of the main issues that I noticed within the article was that Lancaster needed to pave the way for growth and expansion and rapid economic development.  “With the growth of the city, large department stores began to take the place of the smaller shops” (106-107).  By the 20th century, Lancaster was becoming the epitome of the “modern city.  A thing of din and steel, of clanging trolley cars and honking automobiles, of electric signs and factory whistles” (113).  The industrial development truly aided in Lancaster’s growth and helped it flourish into a modern day city.  In doing so, the rise of consumerism was met with the demand for more products.  Chocolate, shoes, public education, woodworking industries and more all had a place within Lancaster with an eager population to help it thrive.

Many of the buildings we presented still contain some of the physical attributes from the late 19th century.  Although their Utilitas has changed throughout the years, their Firmitas structure remains.  For example, warehouses and packing establishments were built in the 1800s as brick structures, about two to three stories high.  These attributes can be seen throughout many of the buildings located in Lancaster today, for example on North Queen Street.  Three of the buildings that stand today are covered in some sort of brick, while four of the buildings stand at three stories tall.

There is still a need to adapt to the growing population as some of these warehouses and establishments were turned into residential buildings or even used as office spaces.  Also, the need to adapt to new materials remains present; the use of stone (marble, ashlar) and concrete (reinforced as well) is shown on the storefronts of some of these antique buildings.

New York-Lancaster

February 25, 2012

For my final research project for Lancaster Builders, I would like to further study and analyze the relationship between the architectural structure of buildings in Lancaster and how they share other similarities with building in New York City. I think it would be very interesting discovering the similarities old city Lancaster has commercialized and mainstream New York City. Through many of the field trips we have taken as a class thus far in the semester, as a class, we have already seen the comparison between the old Fulton Bank and Grand Central Station in New York City. Even though these building were built for two different purposes, many of the architectural designs are almost similar throughout different footprints of the building. Furthering my study on this specific topic, my goal is to see if there is any connection in architects and maybe a possible relation between the two because the building are so similar in style and structure.


Frederic Klein

February 25, 2012

Frederic Klein’s unique point of view of Lancaster through his reading is truly amazing.  Klein’s main assertion in his reading piece was that the development and advancement of the city of Lancaster and the way it operate will have major affect on the culture as a whole and alter the way people from Lancaster construct their daily lifestyle. During the time of Fredric Klein, the population of traditional Lancaster became consumerist and began to spend masses amount of money. During this time of several technological advancements, more consumerist stores were being constructed for the people to spend most of their time in shopping in. The trend of new stores and new technology, Lancaster began to skyrocket through the economy at this specific time. As we have studied, much of the money that has been incorporated into the city has been in the beautiful architecture of the buildings. The constant cycle of consumerism enabled the city to construct architectural designs such as the ones we have seen in Lancaster ourselves. Also, due to the economic boom taking place in Lancaster, many backs began to open for the general public to secure their money in these massive architectural developments ensuring safety.

Obviously, when people have money at hand they are able to spend causing advertisement to spread throughout the city of Lancaster. Marketing of any product during this time influenced consumerism because many people of the city wanted the next best thing when they saw it outside in the general public.  During this time of consumerism and spending money, Fredric Klein noticed the unusual boom in the economy after cars began to detour through Lancaster. Everyone who lived in the town around this time was dreaming of having an automobile to make life tasks that much easier. Since there was an initial boom in this market, Fredric Klein believed that the popularity of the car would force people to work harder so they would be able to achieve what they wished for. Klein though the rapid chain of working labor would continue to boom the economy.

Lancaster City in the Early Twentieth Century

February 25, 2012

Through the early decades of the twentieth century an industrial boom shocks Lancaster and forever shapes the city from a quaint country community into “the richest farming county in the United States.” The tobacco industry saw one of the largest advances in manufacturing with the Lancaster district deemed the top producer of cigars in the nation. There were technological advances as well including electricity, railways and automobiles. The District of Lancaster had a greater variety of manufactures than any other inland city and was home to over a hundred industries that were not even in inception thirty years before. With the evolution of a farming town into a booming city that was Lancaster, there came great advances in education, a decrease in unemployment and an overall improvement in living.

            This industrial revolution that struck Lancaster brought with it economic stability and expansion. This expansion needed a place to breathe and develop; the result was the growth of Lancaster’s architecture. With an influx of workers came families, which led to the establishment of academic institutions and new housing. Grand schools and apartment style housing replaced the cornfields and empty lots. It was more than an economic growth but the birth of a new, thriving city. The rising population also created the need for restaurants, the famous Dutch style dinning saw its inception during this time in Lancaster.  Business such as the Woolworth 5 and 10 cent store became so prosperous that it relocated to new quarters in the biggest office building in town. To accommodate the sick and elderly the city made possible the construction of the Long Home for the aged along with a new insane asylum on East King Street. City officials even took notice of its more aesthetic features including parks and reservoirs that which saw a facelift and the addition of theaters and bowling alleys. With the age of the automobile came improvements to the roads and the addition of gas stations through out the county. The city was shifting from a slower, more rural atmosphere into a new-age city with all the technology the turn-of-the-century brought with it. Improvements in water and sewage sanitation also under went construction and the Conestoga Traction Company laid down five miles of city track for the electric railway that brought a tremendous boom to the retail trade of Lancaster City. Other industries and businesses such as shoe making, the steel industry, the Armstrong Cork Company, the confectionery industry (Keppel’s Confectionery Factory) and tobacco all saw a rise in popularity and economic success during the first few decades of the twentieth century. The tobacco industry included over 200 warehouses city wide, 50 local firms that handled the processing and distribution of the tobacco and an overall annual revenue of 6 million dollars.

            The buildings that we have researched and presented in the blog are all apart of this industrial and economic boom. My building for example, Keppel’s Confectionery Factory was apart of the chocolate and candy expansion that began during this era and carried into present day times. A factory that could utilize the convenient dairy products of Lancaster’s farmlands and produce candies and treats that could be sold right there in its store to the citizens of Lancaster city.


Tall Office Building Research Project

February 24, 2012

Throughout the first two decades of the twentieth century, Lancaster was a period rapid industrial and cultural development and change. The changes are reflected in the multiplicity of different buildings that were constructed during this time period. The over theme of this time period was the huge increase in industrialization and manufacturing.

In 1880 Agriculture was Lancaster’s chief source of wealth, however rapid industrialization was beginning to take place. A key change taking place was the transition from many small retail businesses to larger more versatile department stores. An architectural example of this trend is the Watt and Shand department store. From the blog posting I was able to learn that over time the department store acquired more building space and expanded until it occupied an entire block of retail space. The size of this building also indicated new technologies and materials were discovered that allowed for bigger buildings to be built. This demonstrates how new technology drives and is intertwined with cultural and architectural change. Additionally, the expansion of the department store clearly illustrates the trend of the decreasing presence of small retail stores. A consequence of this change is that some small storeowners may have been forced out of business; however, the thriving economy in Lancaster during this time period provided many additional jobs. Attractive buildings and job opportunities drew many people to the city.

As more and more people came to the city demand for goods and services continued to rise. Schuab’s building is a prime example of the type of building that sprang up in response to the demand for goods. Schuab’s was created knowing that there were many competing shops. The venustas of the building is very unique and invokes beauty and desire to help attract customers. Another example of building springing up to meet the variety of needs of consumers is Keppel’s building, which was a candy factory. With more people flocking to the city community interest in improving Lancaster was very high. An issue was the best way to improve the city. The solution provided was the Lancaster board of trade. One very important building they helped fund was the post office building which is currently municipal building. This government building helped symbolize the democratic ideal and provided a solution for the constant increase mail coming into Lancaster. In parallel with the creation of the post office, the police, fire department, and other government agencies became better funded. An interesting technological development that affected the venustas of buildings was the development of neon signs. However, they became so popular among stores that stopped being unique. Eventually the local government banned them. The sign example demonstrates the effect of new technologies have on every facet of the buildings. From an entertainment perspective, the Fulton Opera House provided residents of the city with a new source leisure.

During this time period, Lancaster became modernized through a series of rapid changes. The retail business was booming, manufacturing took off, and architecture flourished. Despite all of the rapid changes and new revenue it is important note that Lancaster was still very dependent on agriculture for money as well as for the rich inflow of natural materials.


In this project I will examine a variety of Urban’s office buildings. I will consider their utilitas, firmitas, and venustas of these building, and will analyze how these factors were affected by new technologies and cultural change that occurred in the early twentieth century. Additionally, I will look how Lancaster’s rapid industrialization helped contribute to and influence these building. I want to compare the symbolism Urban’s buildings to current American office buildings.


Historical Issues

February 24, 2012

In hearing Frederic Klein’s point of view of Lancaster in his time, he makes clear the important issues that the growth of the city had on the people and the culture. One of the main issues facing people in  Lancaster was the increase in consumerism and the spending of money. As the technology increased, more convenient stores and department stores were constructed. This created more jobs for people in the city and thus ultimately lead to more money being spent in the newly developed stores. This trend caused an economic boom in Lancaster during this time. Additionally, while more money was being spent, as we have seen in the buildings we have observed, many banks were first brought into play around this time. With the increase in jobs, and increase in consumerism, there was additionally an increase in saving. Many banks were introduced at this time and many people of the city took advantage of the opportunity to save in these institutions. Following up on consumerism and issue of spending money, Advertisement became very popular around this time. Advertising became a problem as it influenced consumerism and the spending of money. Additionally, around this time, Klein saw the first cars in Lancaster and noticed their boom. Everyone in the town wanted to have one of these new machines and continuation of spending money and working more only lead to a more rapid economic boom. If I am correct I remember Klein saying if the growth of the city would have continued its growth the population today would be 1 million.

Modeling Space research project

February 24, 2012

For my research project I have decided to pursue the modeling space option and create a 3D model of one of Emlen Urban’s buildings. I have decided to recreate one of the most important buildings in Lancaster, the Griest tower. I will use the 3D model to answer questions relating to its space and beauty. Specifically, one cultural issue I plan to analyze and test is how the significance of the size of building relates its power and significance to the city. Being the only skyscraper in Lancaster, and at one point in time holding all offices for the utility companies of Lancaster, the Griest tower holds a large significance in the center circle of Lancaster. I hope to connect this size and power of the tall building to the culture and power of the city in which it exists.

Klein’s history of Lancaster (1890-1910)

February 24, 2012

In his story of Lancaster County at the turn of the 20th century, former F&M Professor Klein describes the transformation of this small country town into an increasingly urban and economically developed one. During this time, industrial development flourished in Lancaster, manifesting itself through great increases in manufacturing production and consequently opening the door to many other industries that would benefit the town. Brick, tool, shoe and chocolate manufacturing, brewing and tobacco industries were booming along with the strong agriculture that remained the key wealth generating business of the region. Much of this progress was thanks to the Lancaster Board of Trade, an association of local businessmen who worked intensely on bringing additional investments, jobs and factories to their city. The results were astonishing. Lancaster was growing rapidly and so was its population and wealth. Numerous companies, encouraged by the positive business atmosphere, were opening up their factories and stores in Lancaster so that virtually everyone who wanted a job could have found one at the time. This fostered large migrations of farmers into the city and Lancaster’s population experienced sudden and quite remarkable expansion. Had it continued with its growth at such pace, Lancaster would have a population of more than a million these days.

Economic development increased the general opulence of the region and allowed for the greater incomes of Lancaster’s inhabitants. This gave rise to the phenomena of consumerism that was fostered by new (city) life-style and various advertising games that businesses started to engage in. Lancaster residents found themselves earning more and very soon they were given lots of options to choose from on how to spend this extra money. This was an era of the first cars in Lancaster and Professor Klein talks in his research about how rapidly everyone wanted one of these new machines that were adding additional exclusiveness to the comfort of city life. Many new stores opened up along the main downtown streets and each and every one of them was giving its best to interest the potential customers in the various products they were offering for sale. Klein mentions in his writing Watt and Shand’s store, which “employed fifty clerks and salesladies, and emphasized their attention to latest Paris styles and fashions”, as the prime example of an institution that made shopping popular among Lancastrians. Big retail stores, such as this one were very popular at the time. One of the most noteworthy was definitely the Woolworth 5 and 10 ç Store, of which I talked about in my first blog post. The Woolworth building (work of local architect C. Emlen Urban) was at the time the biggest office building and, according to the Intelligencer Journal, “the prettiest business in town.” This magnificent structure with two of its 45-feet towers and many other astonishing elements, including the roof garden, attracted more than 11000 people for its grand opening in 1900. The building continued to attract numerous customers over the years and Frank W. Woolworth’s large investment seemed to be paying off. As for the smaller stores in town, they had to find their own (more modest) ways to attract customers. Professor Klein writes about the various forms of advertising that were practiced, including the “squeaking, swaying boards of black and gold” that the merchants used to highlight their stores. However, once everyone started using these extravagant signs, they both: lost their initial function and started hurting the looks of the business streets. For this reason, they were at some point prohibited. Schaub’s shoe store that I examined in my second blog post used its ingenious design to advertise its products and attract the customers in a very unique and clever fashion. The architect created a visually attractive but still very functional front part of the building in glass so that everyone could see some of the products offered for sale straight up from the street. Moreover, he gave up a substantial front part of the store to create a dented entrance that subtly “sucks in” customers. This clever use of space and new materials resulted from an imperative to make the store appealing to the members of the shopping nation that was rising.

The Woolworth Building, 21. North Queen Street


As I said before, Lancaster’s industry and economy were thriving at the switch from 19th to 20th century. Professor Klein’s research indicates that some of the local businesses were often handling millions of dollars and were making equally prodigious profits by exporting large output of their produce to the whole of nation and even some foreign markets. Tobacco industry and agriculture were particularly lucrative businesses as the Lancaster County was national leader in farming and the produce of cigarettes. According to Professor Klein, Lancaster farmers were taking an annual profit of million dollars on a stock alone and several more on their other products. As expected, such prosperous development attracted numerous banks to Lancaster County, which naturally saw an opportunity in this situation for their own success. There used to be about 11 banks in Lancaster in the early 1900s but the truly big players were: Farmers Trust Company (formerly – Farmer’s National Bank of Lancaster), Lancaster Trust Company and The Lancaster County National bank. It might be interesting to note that all of the Lancaster banks at the time were located either on E. King or N. Queen Street. To get their own piece of cake, these institutions for start had to demonstrate their strength and longevity in the eyes of the late 19th century Lancastrians, who were not easily going to entrust their savings to a third party. The architecture of the bank buildings played an important role in the process of sending such message to the public and installing the trust in banks among the Lancaster’s businessmen and successful farmers. The architect of the Farmers Trust Company building, as I argue in my most recent blog post, used the classical orders to make this bank associated with ancient everlasting structures. The intention was to make the citizens of Lancaster confident about putting their money into the bank, because they could be sure that it will stay safe there for as long as it’s necessary. Surprisingly or not, this clever strategy helped its cause. The people of Lancaster gained the confidence in banks and banking business started to flourish along with everything else in this transforming town. In words of Mr. W. U. Hensel, who Professor Klein cites at the end of his writing about this era: “In all this there has been a spirit not only of commercial activity, but of integrity – a confidence that when a man puts a dollar in the bank he will get a dollar out.”

Farmers Trust Company, 52. East King Street


Finally, there seems to be an interesting juxtaposition of these two phenomena, which developed out of Lancaster’s immense growth in the early 20th century. On one hand, Lancastrians were turning into a shopping community and were spending much more under the influence of commercial marketing. On the other hand, for the very first time, they were saving up some of that money in newly formed banks. In both cases, these social issues were clearly reflected in the architecture of Lancaster, including those few buildings I examined in my earlier blog writings.