Archive for March, 2012

Photo Collection Watt & Shand

March 31, 2012

This week I worked on acquiring photos of the Watt & Shand Building. Unfortunately some of the photos are not transferring so I will update as I figure out the solution. I have contacted Heather Tennies to arrange a time to look at the Lancaster Historical Society’s Watt & Shand Collection archive.

The archive consists of over 80 photos and documents about the store in general. I hope to gather most of my information from this collection. Below I list one other archive that I will use to discover more about the atmosphere of the Watt & Shand store.

The photos are posted below. Stay tuned for more.

Interior View


(1930) Source:


(Arial View) Source:





Week 3

March 30, 2012

For this week I worked on the Hager Building. This five-story building was also done in the beaux- arts style. An example of this is the ceramic ornaments that decorate the façade of this building. A more detailed writing/ analysis will be posted soon, also with my works for next weeks building: Reily Raub and Bros.


a detailed view of the middle of the building, showing the beaux- arts elements of repeating patterns and ceramic ornaments

Architectural Drawings (N. Queen St.) Week 3

March 30, 2012

Last week I traveled to the Lancaster Historic Society in search of images of North Queen Street throughout the 20th. Century.  The assortment of images I was able to collect include the 1st, 2nd, and 3rd streets of N. Queen Street.  The dates of the photographs date form the 1880’s-1920’s.  I plan on making technical sketches of these images to better help my observations of modern day North Queen Street.  I will later discuss the differences between technical and mechanical drafting and how it pertains to my research.


The Washington Hotel, 1887-1892, was located in the present Lancaster Storage Company site in 300 block of North Queen Street.


Stores on west side of the first block of North Queen Street


Groff and Wolff men’s clothing store, North Queen Street


2nd block, showing Wilbur & Martin Shoe Co., Barr’s Flowers, Carlson Hats, Hanover Shoe Co., and 105 Golde Clothes Shop



Drafting Techniques

Technical Drawings

Technical Sketches are used during the development of preliminary plans and ideas.  These quick sketches help convey design ideas to others.  Technical drawings are made without mechanical aid, like t-squares, compasses, or other forms of architectural drafting. In regards to my work, I will base most of my conclusions on technical sketches I will make.

Mechanical Drawings

Mechanical drafting is a refined style of drawing with t-square, straightedges, compasses, triangles, and French curves.


The paper size will be A (letter size 8.5×11) and B (tabloid 11×17)



York & Sawyer/ Brunswick Hotel- Beaux- Art

March 30, 2012

My objective for my research this week was to meet with Chris and Mike at the special collection archive room to discover more information about C. Emlen Urban, and one of his most famous architectural designs, the Brunswick Hotel. Thus far in my research I have visited the Lancaster Preservation Trust to take notes and pictures of the different floor plans of the Brunswick Hotel. I know am able to gather historical information on the architect and the historical buildings in Martin Library that will demonstrate the accurate information I need.  I will also be thoroughly discussing the Lancaster Trust Company and how York and Sawyer used their architectural tactics to design this building.

37-41 North Market Street; 1911; four story brick bank, large lunette windows on the east and west ends, built from designs of York and Sawyer of New York City and the C. Emlen Urban of Lancaster, by contractor Herman Wohlsen, this section of Market Street was added onto the original 1889 Lancaster Trust Building on North Queen Street, now gone; the Lancaster Trust Company was the only major Lancaster County bank to fail during the depression.

One of C. Emlen Urban’s architectural designs sits on the corner of Northeast Chestnut and North Queen Street, standing directly next to the YMCA building which both appear very similarly alike.  Now that I have discovered direct  and historical information the primitive buildings in Lancaster that deal with my project, I am know able to visit the University of Penn archives, to discover the work of York & Sawyer on these buildings.

C, Emlen Urban’s Brunswick Hotel was demolished in July 1965. This was not the first time the building was destroyed. It was once earlier built in the 1800’s. First built in the late 1800’s, the building was demolished in the first decade of the 1900’s in order for urban to recreate the building in his famous architectural style. Urban’s design and architectural plan incorporated, the Eight-story Brunswick Hotel was built in two stages. First, a seven-bay western portion was completed in 1915 and a completely eastern portion was finished in 1920. Urban employed his signature Beaux Art stlye to the building. Additionally he used rusticated on the ground floors, carved keystones and window lintels along with decorative cartouches lines the eighth floor cornice. The Brunswick was a hotel of beauty and Lancaster finest luxury hotel. Unfortunately, the Brunswick was once again destroyed in 1966. There has been talk of building a more modern version of the Brunswick Hotel, but the historical beauty of the hotel would not do its justice.

My objective for the upcoming week is to meet with Tom and discuss the University of  Penn archives and dissect different works of York & Sawyer.


Historical Preservation Trust of Lancaster County:  Our presents and past: an update of Lancaster’s Heritage. Lancaster. Pa.: Historical Preservation Trust, 1985.

Lancaster’s Architectural Heritage,,browse.asp?a=869To Build Strong and Substantial.

Our Present Past (Historical blurbs on all of the architectural buildings in lancaster since the late 1800s.)

Research Project Week 3

March 30, 2012

Much of this week was dedicated once again to spending time finding resources on James Windrim.  Having found a good article on Windrim last week, I decided to search both Windrim and Urban together to see what I would find.  One article I found online via our class source guides was “To Build Strong And Substantial: The Career of Architect C. Emlen Urban“.  While most of this book pertains to Urban and his uprising as an architect, I was lucky enough to find two pages where they spoke about the Lancaster Municipal Building (which is the topic for my research project) and James Windrim.  This specific part of the book goes on to describe how Windrim was named project architect for the soon to be Lancaster Municipal Building.   They expressed that Windrim was a nationally noted architect, and that it was an important collaboration in Urban’s career to get to be the on sight supervisor for Windrim, this helped Urban obtain the experience, knowledge, and confidence he needed to create his own architectural path.  The last section containing information about Windrim explained the situations of the letters between Urban and Windrim.  They go into detail and show how one random November day, Windrim and Urban were sending letters discussing the original paint colors for the building.  When the buildings utilitas was changed into a post office in 1930, Urban redesigned the entire inside.  At this point in his career he was well known, and did a brilliant job redoing the interior.  I find it interesting that he never made any attempts, nor showed any will to redesign the outside, which to me is a sign of great respect for Windrim.  Along with the book on Urban, I came across some online information about some of the other buildings Windrim had built in Philadelphia.  In particular, he spent much of his time designing buildings for the University of Pennsylvania, where he built a massive agricultural center for the school.  I learned that Windrim was the supervising architect on the U.S. Treasury department in 1891-1895.  One piece of information that surprised me was that he had constructed buildings in Nevada, Virginia, Missouri, Mississippi, Michigan, and other places around the country.  For having built so many amazing structures in his home city of Philadelphia (such as the Masonic Temple of Philadelphia) I was shocked that he accomplished so much outside of Pennsylvania and truly expanded his business.  For next weeks assignment, I hope to gather all of my resources in order to try and create a thesis for the research paper I will be writing.

Week 3: Tall Office Buildings

March 30, 2012


For my research this week my goal was to gather primary source information. I visited the Lancaster preservation trust to examine the drawings of the Brunswick Hotel.


Summary: At the preservation trust I looked at the floor plant for the 5th floor of Brunswick Hotel. This plan was identical to the 6th and 7th floors. Additionally I looked 3rd floor plan. The drawing I focused most was the foundation drawing. I used it to determine the location of the I-Beams. While the 5th floor plan had the location of the I-Beams it also included lots of other measurements that were not essential to my project. The foundation drawings provided clear locations of the I-Beams. I recorded the distances between the I-Beams in my sketchbook. Next I looked at the elevation of the Brunswick hotel. I determined that each floor was a total of 11’, however this does not include the 1’ I-Beam thickness, and the 3’’ floor thickness. Floors 2 through 7 had identical dimensions, but the 8th and 1st floors had different dimensions. In total the building had 28 I-Beams.

Dr. Kourelis, Sean and I began to catalogue the various drawings of the Brunswick Hotel. Dr. Kourelis took pictures of all of the drawings and will upload them to edisk. This will be a valuable recourse for our class in terms of looking at various architectural elements of the Brunswick Hotel.

With this primary source information, I will now take my project in a new direction. For next week I will utilize Google SketchUp to create a structural model of the I-Beams of the Brunswick Hotel. Along with the model, I will compare the structural ratios of the Brunswick Hotel to other C Emlen Urban office buildings built around the same time. I looked at the article To Build Strong and Substantial to get an idea of what buildings I would use as a point of comparison. I plan to compare the Brunswick Hotel to the Hager Building, Kirk Johnson Building, and the Greist Building. The problem I face with these other buildings is that the original plans are not available for them. I plan to visit these building and map out the dimensions by walking between the I-Beams and counting my paces. This method is can provide inaccuracy for two reasons. One measuring something by paces in not that accurate, and since the I-Beams are not exposed I have estimate their location based on the external structure of the building. However, for my purposes this will provide a good approximation of the structure of the I-Beams for the other Urban buildings.


March 30, 2012

Research project on architecture of banks in early 20th century Lancaster: Week 3

For this week of my research I planned to continue with my background reading. On the agenda was another profound work on bank architecture called Money Matters: A Critical Look at Bank architecture. This 1989 publication of The Museum of Fine Arts, Houston is a solid collection of essays of various authors who have explored the history of banking structures in United States and Canada. As you will notice, this was a step closer to my research topic from the last week when I explored the broad international history of banking and the architecture associated with it. The book starts off with a couple of interesting essays that give general overview of banks and their architectural value but also of their importance to our lives and social constructions they develop in our communities. Out of pragmatic reasons, I will not analyze these writings here, but I do bring my overall summary of some of the later chapters in this book that found the most relative to my research:

CHAPTER 1: Federal Period Through the Greek Revival

The very first modern bank in the United States was established in Philadelphia (in 1781) by the Congress of the Confederation for the purposes of financing the ongoing Revolutionary War. The main reason initial American banks like this one enjoyed a status above that of any other contemporary businesses is that unlike in Europe, where for centuries banking had been in private hands, the first American banks were corporations, charted by federal or state governments. Although managed by groups of individuals, they were enhanced and bound by governmental authority and rapidly became the most important and successful of the country’s 18th century corporations. Banking, however, being such a new activity on the American soil, was kind of a mystery to the general public as well as to some of the first bankers and architects who were to design the appropriate buildings for these new and powerful enterprises. They had, nevertheless, relatively rich European tradition in building banks, exchanges and other financial institutions to guide them. The Bank of England and its monumentally rebuild version by Sir John Soane (1788-1920s) in particular had profound influence on early American banking architecture. Prior to the revolution, buildings in North America were mostly designs of local craftsmen, carpenters or amateur architects, who were influenced by architectural books published in England, which propagated the Renaissance classicism of Italy. “By the time the first banks were built, at the very end of the 19th century, classicism was the common architectural language in the land.”

After the war, the bank directors were eager to project an impressive architectural image and began to patronize the most talented professional architects at a time when such individuals were rare in the United States. The country’s two leading early architects, Charles Bunfinch and Benjamin Henry Latrobe, both received bank commissions. One of the early masterpieces of the US bank architecture, the Bank of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia (1798-1800) was the design of an English born Henry Latrobe, who was (as Edwin Heathcote teaches us in his Bank Builders) significantly influenced by Soane’s work at The Bank of England. Latrobe was “highly sensitive to the New World aspirations and needs” but also “free of the persistent colonialism which marked the work of native Americans.” Several other banks that preceded Latrobe’s masterpiece, including The First Bank of United States (also in Philadelphia) merely resembled rich residential units. For the Bank of Pennsylvania, however, Latrobe used classical forms creatively “to produce a highly specialized banking structure, something as new as the enterprise it housed.” Latrobe’s neoclassical bank marked the break with the prevailing federal style and it also introduced the Greek order in American architecture, a style that will in later years have “profound consequences for the future of bank architecture”

CHAPTER 3: Mid and late Victorian

“From the 1790s onward, banks in the United States tended to specialize, catering to different groups of customers even within the same city.” Banking soon became much more diversified as banks were established to “look after the needs of smaller businessmen” such as farmers, shopkeepers, and mechanics (manufacturers and craftsmen). The name of the bank itself, like the Farmers’ Trust Company or Merchants Bank clearly signaled “the type of customer the bank wanted to do business with.” Many new banks were also founded at the time for the purpose of financing public improvements like roads, canals, and schools.

This was an era of unrestrained banking, set off by the demise of the regulating federal bank in 1836. A great proliferation of state banks followed, each of which was issuing its own bank notes. “Multiplication rather than consolidation was the order of the day.” The author of this historical overview, Susan Wagg, gives an example of the state of Indiana, whose 1853 lax banking legislation in just three-year period led to opening of as much as 94 new local banks, a vast majority of which failed to stay in business for even that long. This “free banking” system, however, stimulated great expansions towards the west and major economic developments of the United States, particularly through financing the development of the “fabulous resources of the vast continent.” In words of Bray Hammond, “bank credit was to Americans a new source of energy, like steam.”

CHAPTER 5: Beaux-Arts Classicism

“As the colorful, picturesque styles of the Victorian era were reaching an apogee in the eighties and nineties in both Canada and the United States, the leading new architectural firm in New York – McKim, Mead & White – was striving to reintroduce classical order and discipline into architectural design.” The firm was active between 1879 and 1910 and the fact that it received over 785 commissions during this time is telling about its productivity as well as its popularity at the time. Only a small portion of this number, however, accounts for the bank buildings that McKim, Mead and White designed. That said, each of their banks was an essay in Beaux-Arts (of outstanding quality and monumental grandeur) that exerted tremendous influence on many of the leading US bank builders who received major bank commissions prior to the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s. The firm’s efforts were boosted after the World’s Columbian Exposition of 1893, which was held in Chicago. This single historic event marked the sudden and sharp switch from uniquely American realism to Europe-oriented Beaux-Arts Classical revival in the US architecture. French Academic Classicism was the new big source of inspiration and imitation, with McKim, Mead and White as the most successful representatives of this new current that aroused enthusiastic admiration among the general public.

CHAPTER 6: Prairie style

“Despite the impact made by classical grandeur on display at the World’s Columbian Exposition in 1893, Chicago remained a center for progressive architectural design.” The most prominent architect of this current was Louis Sullivan, the only architect who dared to deviate from the official classical style of the Exposition in his Transportation Building. He, in fact, devoted the rest of his career to his “self-imposed task of creating a fresh, original, and worthy American architecture.” “For this avant-garde architect, one of the founders of the Chicago School, the continued reworking of the past – in which McKim, Mead and White and their emulators excelled – was a betrayal of the needs and aspirations of the American people. It was not modern architecture.” Sullivan essentially did not have anything in particular against the Classical architecture, except that it (in his opinion) did not suit the dynamic spirit of his modern, technologically superior nation. “ […] to him, the Roman temple [a common form for many bank buildings at the time] was part of Roman, not American, life.” His radical vision, however, cost him large metropolitan commissions that he became famous for before the 1900s. Between 1906 and 1919 Sullivan was hired to build a handful of banks throughout the Midwest and it was in the design of these magnificent buildings “that stand out like jewels in tiny rural towns” that he managed to express his strong opinions and ideas about how American architecture should be.

CHAPTER 7: Twenties and Thirties

“Throughout much of the nineteenth century American commercial banking had developed in the absence of a central bank into a unique form comprising thousands of banking institutions, mainly without branches.” We can clearly see this phenomena in Lancaster City at the turn of the century when there used to be as much as 11 different banks operating in this small rural town, but none of which had any branches (as it is normal for today’s bank). Severe financial crises of the late 19th and early 20th century (1877, 1895, 1903, and 1907) had made it necessary for the government to come up with a regulatory solution that is going to bring some order into the banking industry but without sacrificing the high democratic ideals that American people aspired to. In 1913 President Woodrow Wilson signed the Federal Reserve Act. The Act created a central banking system composed of regional Federal Reserve Banks and member commercial banks. Twelve reserve banks were established to serve as central government’s fiscal agency that overlooked smaller commercial banks. These reserve banks were thus not instituted to serve the general public but to provide banking services to their member banks, which was supposed to bring some control and safer structure to the banking industry in the US. In an attempt to ensure a stable economy, the US Government continued to impose controls to the banks with the legislation from 1930s, which stopped the proliferation of smaller banks, causing them to loose much of their initial independence.

CHAPTER 10: Conclusion

The pioneer banks in the United States were established in the era of very turbulent financial conditions in this new and at the time still developing country. To succeed, they had to convince people that they were solvent, stable institutions when in fact they were very opposite. “To do this bankers did what people have always done when they wanted to display either real or pretended wealth, they built themselves a fine house, modified very slightly for banking purposes but inspired by the finest American houses they knew.” Latrobe’s Bank of Pennsylvania was the first example of fully developed bank architecture and was in its time unmatched in both architectural sophistication and beauty. Because these early banks, however, proved successful and profitable, they soon had rivals, creating the need for distinctive structures to compete for customers to attract a particular clientele. Despite the longevity of the Greek revival in the United States, the 19th century was characterized by rapidly changing fashions in architecture, providing the banks with the means to distinguish themselves radically from their competitors. During the last quarter of the nineteenth century, with the advent of the elevator and advances in metal framing, height also became another means by which banks could advertise themselves or surpass competitors. The first major break with the tradition was evident in a number of small-town banks designed by Prairie School architects, constructed as early as the first decade of the new century.

Research Summary, Week 3

March 30, 2012

This week’s research involved a more in-depth look at the Woolworth Building located in New York City, as well as the Woolworth Building in Lancaster that was co-designed by C. Emlen Urban.

The Woolworth Building in New York was designed in 1910 and constructed by Cass Gilbert, a famous American architect.  Construction on the building was completed in 1913.  Frank Woolworth, founder of the F.W. Woolworth Company, commissioned the building. The Woolworth building was meant to house the F.W. Woolworth company’s headquarters.  The retail company specialized in ‘five and dime’ stores, or stores that offered items for sale that ranged from 5 to 10 cents. The building itself claimed the title of the tallest building in the world at the time, approximately 792 feet tall.  In fact, the building grew in from a twenty-story project to “a low blocky building joined with a tower” that ranged in height between 420 and 550 feet, and then doubled in size to become the world’s tallest building.” (Fenske).   The tall design called for high economic costs, such as additional materials and purchase of adjacent land.  The partner-like relationship between Woolworth and Gilbert brought them together, as they steadfastly micromanaged the building to the smallest detail.  The two viewed the “terra cotta through a nineteenth-century Ruskinian Gothic lens” (Fenske) in order to give the building a European Gothic Cathedralesque look.

Woolworth Building, New York, NY  (Elevation drafted by Cass Gilbert, 1910)



The ‘other’ Woolworth Building was in fact constructed earlier than the one in New York.  It’s construction took place in Lancaster between 1899 and 1900; it was designed by the New York firm of Ditmar and Sheckels, with C. Emlen Urban serving as the local supervising architect.  “Constructed of steel, iron, stone and brick, the five-story building included a spacious roof garden with two gold-domed towers that rose 45 feet and lent an incomparable beauty and finish to the building.” (Boyce)  The building is regarded as the first successful Woolworth five and dime retail store to be constructed.  However, soon after the construction of the Griest Building, the Woolworth building began to lose favor and, in 1949, was demolished.

It can be inferred that, while serving as the supervising architect, Urban was heavily influenced by the architectural design that Frank Woolworth was looking for in his stores.  Thus, Urban’s exposure to the ‘foreign’ Neo-Gothic Revival influence created an imprint in his mind of how he could leave its mark in Lancaster through his own architectural design.

Urban’s Hand: The Artistry of a Victorian Architect

March 29, 2012

The Stiegerwalt House (1894-1896). The porch roof balustrade has been lost.

pictures of new science building.

March 29, 2012

I will analyze these pictures with in the next week. Enjoy.


some of these are newer than the new science building but they will all help me get an idea of the building