Archive for the ‘Amer Suljendic’ Category


April 5, 2012

Research project on architecture of banks in early 20th century Lancaster: Week 4

This week I studied again Sanborn maps of Lancaster City. For my research project, I have redrawn (using Google SketchUp) a digital map of Lancaster Downtown in 1929. The map shows 3 main streets: North Queen, East King and North Duke, where all but one of the Lancaster banks were located in this year. The map is scaled and very carefully drawn. I paid attention to all the details and I also tried to put in as much information about other important buildings that were located in Lancaster downtown in the year of 1929. Because the original Sanborn maps were really hard to read, this imposed quite a challenge for me. Here is the map that I created along with the list of banks that are in it.

BANKS AND BANKERS OF LANCASTER IN 1929 (with addresses):

1. LANCASTER TRUST COMPANY (36-38 North Queen Street)

2. In Woolworth Building (21 North Queen Street)*:





3. THE FULTON NATIONAL BANK (11 North Queen Street)




7. FARMERS TRUST CO OF LANCASTER (50-52 East King Street)

8. PEOPLES TRUST CO OF LANCASTER (113-115 East King Street)**

9. THE GUARANTY TRUST CO (36-38 North Duke corner East Grant)



12. NORTHERN TRUST ANDSAVINGS CO (138 North Queen Street)***

*These 4 banking firms had offices within the Woolworth Building

**The 1929 Sanborn map that is in possession of F&M College is in fact an updated 1912 version, which is probably why it is showing an empty slot in place where this bank had its building in 1929

***For pragmatic reasons, this bank is not shown on my map of Lancaster downtown, where all the other banks 1929 Lancaster were located



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.


March 9, 2012

Research project on architecture of banks in early 20th century Lancaster: Week 1

My most important goal for this week was to establish the sample and determine the scope of my research. I planned to identify all the banks that operated in Lancaster at the turn of the century and also to explore which of these actually still exist and which don’t. I was hoping that this would help me determine the sample of my research, identify the bank buildings I will focus on in my research and find those that I can visit and examine in person during my research.

I began with my research at F&M Archives and Special Collections where I examined Lancaster City Directories for 1905-1906. These old books that are in possession of Franklin and Marshall College were in their time something of a modern-day phone books or yellow pages. Exploration of such resource allowed me to identify 11 banks that were registered for business in Lancaster in the 1905 and 1906. The nice thing with the City Directories is that it gives detailed information about the businesses that were advertised in it. I collected addresses and some other relevant information about these 11 banks that I might find useful for my further research. With the information of each bank’s address I was able to look at 1912 Sanborn maps and locate the banks in them. Here is the complete list of those 11 banks:

Conestoga National Bank – Incorporated, 1889. Capital. $200.000; Surplus and Undivided Profits, $254,010,32. Roland H. Brubaker, Pres.; Albert K. Hostetter, Cashr. 28 Penn sq.

Farmers’ Trust Co. of Lancaster, Pa. –  Incorporated, March 25. 1904. Capital, $225,000. John W. B. Bausman, Pres.; S. M. Seldomridge, Vice Pres.’ Charles A. Fon Dersmith, Treas. 52 E. King.

First National Bank of Lancaster, Pa. – Incorporated, 1864. Capital, $210,000. Surplus and Undivided Profits, $182,126.75. N. Milton Woods, Pres.; Henry C. Harner, Cashr. 11 E. King

Fulton National Bank, The – Incorporated, 1882. Capital, $200,000. Surplus and Undivided Profits, $130,000. John D. Skiles, Pres.; John C. Carter, Cashr. 11 North Queen.

Lancaster County National Bank – Founded, 1841. Capital, $300,000. Franklin H. Breneman, Pres.; David C. Kready, Vice Pres.; A. Sauber, Cashr. 23 E. King

Lancaster Trust Co. – Incorporated, 1889. Capital, $250,000. Surplus and Undivided Profits, $550,000. John Hertzler, Pres.; S. M. Myers, Vice Pres.; J. T. Breneman, Treas.; Herbert C. Miller, Asst. Treas.; John S. Graybill, Real Estate Officer.; Hon. W. U. Hensel, Solicitor. 36-38 N. Queen

Northern National Bank of Lancaster, Pa. – Incorporated, 1889. Capital, $125,000. J. Fred. Sener, Pres.; Elam J. Ryder, Cashr. 138 N. Queen.

Northern Trust and Savings Co. – Incorporated, 1901. Capital. $125.000. J. Fred. Sener, Pres.; Elam J. Ryder, Treas. 138 N. Queen.

People’s National Bank of Lancaster, Pa. – Incorporated, 1887. Capital, $200,000. P. Eckert Slaymaker, Pres.; Dubois Rohrer, Cashr. 113-115 E. King.

Peoples Trust Co., of Lancaster, Pa. – Incorporated, 1892. Capital, $250,000. Surplus and Undivided Profits, $246,296.27. P. Eckert Slaymaker, Pres.; Isaac W. Leidigh, Vice Pres.; J. Chester Jackson, Sec. and Treas. 113-115 E. King.

Union Trust Co. The – Incorporated, March 17. 1902. Capital $150,000. Undivided Profits, $65,000. W. Wohlsen, Pres.; Jacob M. Martin, Sec. and Treas.; John M. Groff, Solicitor; W.S. Taylor, Mngr. Bond Dept. 26 E. King.

Then I made a visit to Lancaster Historical Society to look for original old photos of all these banks and also to examine the Banks of Lancaster County Collection that I listed as one of my primary sources. As for the photos, I found elevation images of all the banks on my list, except for the First National Bank of Lancaster. I have also found photos that are showing interiors of some of these banks. I believe that these photos will be of great use to me in my attempt to analyze the banking experience of a Lancaster client in early 1900s. To really understand the relationship of a client and a bank and the whole banking experience, we need to look inside the bank buildings and these old photos actually allow us to do that. I scanned all the photos I could find and now I posses digital database with about 20 photos of various elevations and interiors of the banks in my sample. Here are some of those photos:

Historical Society’s Banks of Lancaster County Collection was quite a disappointment because it included very few materials that are relevant for my research and disappointingly little information about banks in Lancaster in general. For some reason, the greatest portion of the collection was devoted to Woolworth Retail Store. Within the collection what I found most useful for my research were anniversary booklets of 3 major banks from my sample:

The Lancaster County National Bank: 95 years of Service to the Community 1841-1936

 Conestoga National Bank: Fifty Years of Progress 1889-1939

 100 Years of Fulton Banking 1882-1982

These included interesting information about the history and business affairs of these banks and maybe more importantly – some nice photos that are now in my digital collection.

Finally, I went for a walk down the East King and North Queen Streets, where all the banks in my sample used to have their buildings. For some addresses that I couldn’t find on site I used Google Earth street view. I say “used to have” their buildings, because unfortunately most of them seem not to be there anymore. To be precise, only Farmers’ Trust Company original building is still on 52 East King and it is occupied by Morgan Stanley global financial services firm. Most of the Lancaster Trust Company building is also well preserved but the building is currently looking for a new owner, after unsuccessful episode with the most recent occupant – Lancaster Quilt and Textile Museum that went out of business. Union Trust Company building survived, but it is severely damaged and is currently undergoing restoration. In place of the Conestoga National Bank, there is now a Citizen Bank and in place of an old Fulton National Bank building – a modern building of the same bank. Other bank buildings from my 1905-1906 list have been demolished and do not exist anymore. For this reason I have decided for next week to try to extend my list of banks to those that existed in Lancaster in 1929 (just before the Great Depression). I hope that this will bring up some new banks that still exist so that I will have more banks to visit and explore from first hand experience. If this doesn’t bring any significant results, I will focus my research on 3 banks: Farmers’ Trust Company of Lancaster, Lancaster Trust Company and The Fulton National Bank.

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.

SCHAUB’S BUILDING (18. North Queen Street)

February 17, 2012



Schaub’s building is essentially a shop. Thus, its principal function was always to attract and accommodate numerous customers. From its divisive plan we can see that the first floor has a large primary commercial space appropriate for a store that expects to assist a lot of clients. The fact that architect used columns instead of interior walls intensifies the effect of openness towards customers and increases the display area for the various items that Schaub’s offers for sale. Architect gave up a substantial front part of the building to create a dented entrance that subtly “sucks in” customers from the N. Queen Street. This building has two more stores of which the second one is probably an extension of the shop and the third a residential unit of the shop owners.





This building uses trabeated structural system, which gives it a solid boxy shape with straight vertical walls and closely spaced upright columns. Although there is a little arch above the door to the right, its purpose is simply decorative rather than structural. This is an endoskeletal building. Thus, we can only make a solid guess that it was built with reinforced concrete. As for the other materials, the use of glass and metal is particularly effective because it gives the building lightness and creates a floating effect. The use of rich wood inside the shop windows communicates exclusiveness and the quality of the goods advertised therein.



Schaub’s store was designed to attract attention and evoke desire in potential customers. Thus it is both unique and beautiful. The architect purposefully created a building that looks nothing like other surrounding brick constructions, so that Schaub’s store stands out in the eyes of a passerby. The reflection effect that central glass panel creates is stunning, just like the amazing decorations in its metal framing and building’s white lime stone façade. The lantern on the side is a final architect’s touch that gives the building character and tells the story of its time and unique style. This building can be characterized as formal because of its symmetrical appearance. A look at the elevation reveals clear distinction between the first two floors that are commercial and the third floor that is a residential unit.

Lancaster Farmers Trust Company Building

February 17, 2012


In this post I will briefly examine the Vitruvian element of “venustas” (beauty) for the Lancaster Farmers Trust Company Building, which is a 1929 creation of a local architect, Malvern R. Evans. The very first thing to notice is that this is a formal building. A look at its elevation clearly reveals perfect symmetry and identical series of evenly spaced windows and dormers on this building. The main entry is centered and flanked by two very large windows that are topped with decorative arches. Moreover, the central door is enclosed with two projecting ionic columns and an overhead swan pediment. As such, the Farmers Trust Building can be considered of classical order. As we can see from its elevation, this is a quite complex looking and thought-provoking building with numerous ornaments and eclectic decorative elements. Contrary to our usual expectations from a formal building, this is not a monochromatic construction either, but one with a beautifully pigmented brick façade that nicely melds with its dark-blue roof and bright cement decorations. The dark mansard roof features three beautiful and identical dormers that are set behind a white decorative balustrade. At the very top of the building, we find four brick chimneys at each of the roof corners. These are connected with another, differently patterned balustrade. The main window openings on this building are out of scale and as such almost entirely predominate its front façade. This affects not only the exterior form of the building, but it also creates a high level of natural illumination in its interior, making it very comfortable and thus beautiful. Of all the other details that make this building aesthetically attractive, the most noteworthy is probably the cement swag, set right above the main entrance, as a particularly nice decoration to this central part of the building,


As I have already noted, Lancaster Farmers Trust Building is a harmonic architectural piece, built in a classical order. The use of classical architectural style seems logical and quite appropriate if we examine the message this building attempted to communicate to the general public. The classical forms are generally considered to be of eternal beauty and value and have throughout much of history generated “sense of longevity, rectitude and stability.” Classic Greek and Roman buildings are taken as prime examples of a standard for quality and beauty that successfully resisted thousands of years that changed our society in many different ways. Thus, a bank like Farmers Trust Company probably wanted to make their clients believe, by associating their building with those of Ancient Greeks, that this bank is equally strong and esteemed to resist the time. The client is thus stimulated to entrust his money to this bank because he can be sure that his money will be forever safe within it. Such message that architect Evans had to communicate through his building was particularly important for this early 20th century time when most people would have rather kept their money under pillow than entrust it to a bank. In order for banks to stay in business, they needed to change this general opinion and install trust among their potential clients.  Architecture, as a social art, seems to have played an important role in this process.


Although I have already (having in mind the most general division of western architectural styles on classical and gothic) characterized this building as classical, it is obvious that it includes some elements unknown to classical ancient architects. Thus, if we seek to be precise, it is more accurate to say that this building is actually a reflection of a Georgian revival, a style that is characteristic for many American buildings of late 19th and early 20th century. This movement sought to revive memories of an English colonial history that Americans started to cherish and is therefore a key to understanding another important message that this building conveys. This was a message of importance to preserve and accentuate colonial past of the United States that unites all Americans, and as such – citizens of Lancaster, in their common history that is irreplaceable part of their national identity. The client is encouraged to entrust his money to a bank officer because he is entrusting it to one of his own. For this reason, Farmers Trust Building (just like many other Lancaster downtown buildings) resembles the Georgian style of 18th century British architecture. The most obvious characteristic is use of bricks and some other elements (like the elaborate front door with decorative pediment) that I already mentioned.

Appel-Wolff Tomb, Lancaster Cemetery

February 2, 2012

On the front side of the Appel-Wolff tombstone at Lancaster Cemetery the names of Theodore Appel D.D. and his wife, Susan Burton Wolff are engraved. Theodore and Susan had 4 children, two of which are buried with them. The name of their youngest and tragically deceased son, Bernard Wolff, is engraved on the left side of the monument and the name of their daughter Charlotte Wolff on its right side. What might be interesting to notice here is that Bernard and Charlotte were also the names of Rev. Theodore’s mother and father in law, whom the Appels share their final resting place with. Bernard C. Wolff and his wife Charlotte have their names engraved on the backside of the tombstone. I will now briefly present the historic information that I collected in my investigation of the lives of this prominent Lancaster family. I will focus on biographies of Theodore Appel and his father in law – Bernard C. Wolff, the two men who shaped much of mid. 19th century history of newly merged Franklin and Marshall College.

Rev. Theodore Appel A.M., D.D. was born on April 30th 1823, in Easton, Pennsylvania. He was one of the 13 children in a family of German and British origin. He started his education when he was just eight and eventually earned an A.M (Artium Magister) degree from Marshall College in 1842, with the honor of delivering the Latin Salutatory on commencement day. He continued his studies at the Theological Seminary at Mercersburg, while serving as a tutor at Marshall College. In 1850, he became the pastor of the Reformed church in Mercersburg and a Professor of Mathematics and Mechanical Philosophy at Marshall College, until this school was moved to Lancaster to form a union with the Franklin College. Dr. Appel moved to Lancaster then to become part of the first F&M College faculty. Here’s an interesting extract from one of the letters that Rev. Appel wrote upon moving to Lancaster to facilitate the merge of the Franklin and Marshall Colleges: “The impression which Lancaster makes upon us all is a very pleasant one […] For my part I feel as some of the people here feel, that we shall have some day or other a big college at Lancaster. With the smiles of a kind providence upon our labors we shall doubtless realize our expectations as we have such a good foundation to rest upon and so many other advantages in our favor.” Dr. Appel continued his professorship in mathematics, physics and astronomy at Franklin and Marshall College until 1877, when he officially retired. Throughout the years spent at F&M he occupied various positions in the College Board of Trustees and the Alumni Association. He was also the first librarian of the college and for many years the last survivor of its original faculty. Even after he retired, Dr. Appel remained unofficially affiliated with the College. Throughout his career, Rev. Appel published numerous books and texts, of which to our interest the most notable are: Recollections of College Life at Marshall College and The Life and Work of Dr. John W. Nevin (president of F&M College 1866-1876). It is important to note that in 1871, Rev. Appel received an honorary D.D. (Divinitatis Doctor) degree from University of Pennsylvania. One of his students described Dr. Appel as a man whose “[…] principal characteristic was his cheerful and hopeful spirit. He saw the bright side of things; he perceived and recognized goodness, and believed in the power of it.”

Rev. Theodore Appel married the 27-year old, Miss Susan Burton Wolff on April 14. 1854. She was the daughter of Dr. Bernard C. Wolff, a Reverend of Baltimore City, where the couple got married. Unfortunately, we don’t know much about Dr. Appel’s wife, except that she was a housewife and probably a painter as well. F&M College is in possession of a diary/personal notebook that belonged to Susan Wolff. This journal includes various writings and newspaper articles on how to be a good housewife, which is what she apparently devoted herself to. These interesting articles include numerous culinary receipts as well as tips on how to “drive away rats”, or how to “use the soap efficiently”. As I have said before, Theodore and Susan had a family of four children: Miss Charlotte; Elizabeth, wife of Theodore W. Nevin, of Pittsburg; Bernard W.; and Theodore B., a practicing physician of Lancaster. Two of their children: Bernard Wolff and Charlotte Wolff were buried under the same family tombstone along with their parents and their grandparents (from mother’s side.) Bernard died tragically, aged nine after a short illness in 1871. Charlotte, who probably never married, was buried here as well, when she died in 1940. It was bit of a challenge to investigate the life of this woman. Not to say that there was no data available, because Special Archives of the Franklin and Marshall College own a full box of Charlotte’s diaries, letters and notebooks with poems that she wrote in the early 20th century. If only I could have read her interesting handwriting, I would have much more to say about Dr. Appel’s daughter. Here’s, however, one particularly interesting and historical piece of writing from her diary:

Friday April 6. 1917

Good Friday-

A cheerless dark and stormy day. At 3.a.m (?)., after a stormy session U.S Congress declared war against Germany. I feel sad and depressed that I am in anguish of mind.


Rev. Bernard C. Wolff D.D was born on December 11, 1794 in Martinsburg, Virginia. His great-grandfather immigrated to the USA in 1739, from a small town in Germany and he eventually settled in Lancaster area. According to the book on fathers of the German Reformist Church, Dr. Bernard C. Wolff  “[…] belonged to a family whose religious history confirms the Divine promise and beautifully illustrates the enduring presence, power, and efficiency of God’s covenant mercies […] His ancestors, for ages past, were pious, Christian people, wonderfully sustained and preserved in the faith once delivered to the saints.” Dr. Wolff was a prominent leader in the Reformed Church and he helped to form the Reformed Seminary in 1820. For many years he served as a minister in Easton and Baltimore. During that time, as a prominent member of the Reformed Church, he was very influential person in the establishment of Marshall College and its later unification with the Franklin College in 1852. From 1854-1864, Rev. Wolff was a professor at the Theological Seminary in Mercersburg. In 1864, he moved to Lancaster, where he continued to work at the Franklin and Marshall College until his death in 1870. A whole lot more about Dr. Wolff can be learned from Charles E. Schaeffer’s book on this man’s life. The book is called: A repairer of the Breach, The Memoirs of Bernard C. Wolff. Dr. Wolff was married to Miss Charlotte Wolff, of Chambersburg, who was also a member of the Reformed Church and even a distant relative of him. It is said that their house was a true home for the various clergymen who passed through Martinsburg, but unfortunately very little is known about this woman, a life partner of Dr. Wolff, who was buried with him and the family of their daughter Susan Burton Wolff under this tombstone.

As we could see, the story behind this, and probably behind any other beautiful tombstone at the Lancaster cemetery is fascinating. The monument itself most probably dates back to 1860 when Bernard C. Wolff died. The other members of Wolff and Appel families were probably buried later on and their names were added to this tombstone. The last person to be buried under it was Charlotte Wolff as late as in 1940. When my partner and I were choosing the tombstone to draw, we focused on the architectural beauty of the monument itself, not even imagining the story behind it and lives of the people who were buried under it. It was amazing to find out that these people, who lived in the 19th century were actually deeply affiliated with the Franklin and Marshall College, a school with amazing tradition that we are continuing today. It was astonishing to discover how well their lives were documented and thus preserved. Franklin and Marshall College itself is in possession of several boxes of documents, biographies, letters and personal diaries of this family. For some reason, while doing this research, I felt unusual connection with the people who are now resting below a tombstone that I’ve randomly chosen to draw in class. I’m guessing that all of you who engaged in the examination of another tombstone felt the same way.

Resources used:

Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, Beers, 1903

Theodore Appel Family Papers, F&M Archives and Special Collections

Obituary record, F&M Alumni Association, 1901

The Fathers of the German Reformist Church in Europe and America, Sprenger and Westhaeffer, 1857



North Queen Street 3-27

February 2, 2012

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.