Klein Reading

by


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.

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