North Queen Street 3-27


My task in this exercise was to examine the northeastern corner of Penn Square (Lancaster, PA) from a 1929 Sanborn Fire Insurance map. I have looked at and created the model of three buildings that overlooked the N. Queen and E. Grant Street. In 1929, three, quite large buildings were there: The Fulton National Bank (3-11. N. Queen); J.G. McCrory 5 & 10 Cents Store (15. N. Queen); and the Woolworth’s retail business building (27. N. Queen). I then looked at the Sanborn maps from 1886, 1891 and 1912 to compare these with the 1929 map in order to create a brief chronology of the architectural developments on the 3 slots that were mentioned.

The Sanborn map from 1886 is significantly different from the 1929 one. In place of the Fulton National Bank, it shows a building of similar dimensions, but from the older photos it is obvious that this was a 4-story building and not the 6-story building that was there in 1929. The building itself was comprised of several shops and other businesses, of which the largest (N. Queen 9 and 11) was, just like in the 1929, a bank. Apparently the bank grew and eventually spread out into the whole building. Where in 1929 used to be a J.G. McCrory store, in 1886 was a much smaller building, which was used as a bookstore. In place of the 1929 Woolworth building, at this time were 4 smaller shops of which the largest was the Saloon. Unlike the situation in 1929, there was a large yard behind this whole row of different shops and buildings, spanning all the way to the North Christian Street. An interesting thing to notice here is that in 1886, there was no East Grant Street. In its place, there was a big bakery, followed by a row of shops that continued following the North Queen St.

In the map from 1891, however, East Grant Street first appears. Besides this major change, there are no significant differences between the maps from 1866 and 1891, as far as we are only concerned about these 3 buildings. There seems to be no architectural additions or any significant modifications whatsoever. The only change was that the Saloon was split into 2 smaller shops. It is impossible, however, to read off the map what these shops were exactly.

As expected, the 1912 map resembles the most (out of these three) the one from 1929. The Woolworth building, as it was in the 1929 appears on this map for the first time. This was a huge building used by a retail company of Woolworth family. It had offices, a 5cent and dime shop and even a roof garden. In slot no. two (15. North Queen), there were also important changes. In place of the bookstore, there was a typewriting school and two additional smaller buildings were added to fill what was once the big yard behind the stores on N. Queen. In the 1929 map, all three of these buildings were merged for the purposes of J.G. McCrory store. The 4-story building in slot one (3-11 N. Queen) does not seem like it had undergone any changes between 1886 and 1912. The only thing that we can read off these maps is that there was definitely a bank in this building. By 1929, however, a new building was built in its place. This new 6-story building became the National Fulton Bank.

Today, the northeastern corner of Penn Square looks nothing like it did in the late 19th and early 20th century. There are two new (or entirely modified and renovated) buildings on the three slots along the North Queen Street that I discussed earlier in the text. The Fulton National Bank Building is still called The Fulton Building. However, it is probably not the exact same building that was there in 1929, although it does have similar dimensions. Today’s Fulton Building is also a 6-story building, but its façade is made of bricks (and not stone). Thus, we might also conclude that this building was only significantly renovated and had its façade changed so that it matches with the other buildings in Lancaster downtown area. In slots 2 (15 N. Queen) and 3 (27 N. Queen), where once used to be McCrory and Woolworth buildings, there is now a new building in which there are Fulton bank and Isaac’s Deli. This, much smaller 6-story brick building, a design of a Lancaster architect and F&M alumni, David Lynch, is a recent addition to this area. In between it and the North Queen Street, there is now a small, nicely designed square and a big stairway that leads to Isaac’s.



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