Archive for the ‘Joseph Gilbride’ Category

Research Summary, Week 4

April 6, 2012

This weeks research consisted of a look at the utilitas, firmitas, and venustas of Harold’s Furniture store in hopes of further comparing it to the Woolworth Building in New York.  The building in Urban’s eyes was a scaled down high rise commercial structure that shadowed the Woolworth Building.


The building was originally constructed in 1921 to house the Keystone Furniture Company’s store.  However, the building became the Harold’s Furniture Store, which it is labeled as presently, across the building in 1945.  The reason for this switch in tenants is unknown, but research will be done concerning the occupants of this Gothic Revival structure.  Additionally, the year when Harold’s Furniture Store no longer occupied the building will also be figured out.  Because of the basic design of the building, it seems appropriate that a furniture store, or any store, would be suitable.  This is because of the large plate-glass windows that rest on top of the granite base on the first floor.  Furthermore, the building would be able to contain office space.  In fact, the building currently houses the Lancaster Historical Society’s headquarters while the original location is being renovated.



The structure contains large glass windows as stated before.  Part of the first floor is made accessible to the passerby in the hopes of attracting them into the store through use of display cases.  Above the window display are three stained-glass openings.   Urban utilized the attractiveness of Gothic style glass when designing the building.  The stained glass without a doubt gives it a distinct look:

The structure itself is made of steel and is approximately six stories tall, and is divided into three bays by pilasters.  As mentioned before, the base of the building is made of granite, a sturdy base that prevents any weathering or deterioration.  Urban designed features such as pilasters, lintels, and mullions in order to 1) ornate the building as much as possible in order to project a Gothic style to those that look at the building and 2) attract the eye of the general public.  The building is mostly clad in limestone, with the second floor up is clad in clay terra-cotta.  The letters that spell out ‘Harold’s’ and the address of the building are ornate gold.


The facade of the structure has a distinct “crenellated parapet” (Boyce) that rests at the top.  Shields, ribbons, floral designs are present within the ornate peak of the building.  Without a doubt, the top of the Harold’s building is what sets it apart from other buildings in downtown Lancaster, and such was probably the goal of Urban and his work.  While the materials used on the building itself are similar to that of other buildings designed by Urban, the decorative features are much more intricate than the rest.  Therefore, the beauty of the building rests within the sudden realization of the parapet as the onlooker scans the building from bottom to top.  This same analysis technique is implied in the Woolworth Building’s peak:


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.

Research Summary, Week 2

March 23, 2012

My research this week included a visit to the Lancaster Historical Society in the hopes of finding images of the building that used to house Harold’s Furniture Store.  The photographs that the Historical Society provided me with displayed the Harold’s Furniture Store in 1926, five years after its construction.   These images will serve as primary sources for my analysis. Harold’s Furniture Store is the largest of examples of Second Gothic Revival style commercial architecture in Lancaster.  The building was designed by C. Emlen Urban and constructed in 1921. The building itself represents a perpendicular Gothic style for use with commercial high rise structures.  A notable building that contains similar, yet distinctive, features is Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building in New York City.  The building, which was constructed from 1910-1913, displays the epitome of neo-Gothic style.  The particular feature of Harold’s that is easily identified as portraying a neo-Gothic style is Emlen’s design of the frieze and parapet.

Thus, the question still must be asked – Did Gilbert’s architectural design have an influence on Urban’s design of this building? This question will be explored further in the next coming weeks – specifically, sources from my bibliography will be explored.  Additionally, signs of Gothic influence in Urban’s design will be examined, specifically his work later in his career when the Gothic Revival was taking place.

Research Proposal

March 21, 2012

My proposed research project will focus on the relationship between C. Emlen Urban’s original designs for the Harold’s Furniture Company building and Cass Gilbert’s Woolworth Building in New York.  Specifically, the utilitas, firmitas, and venustas will be analyzed in detail and the façade of both buildings will be compared.  The topic goes further in looking at C. Emlen Urban’s architectural style towards the latter part of his career.  There will also be a comparison between the buildings he designed earlier in his career and Harold’s, which was constructed in 1921, eighteen years before he died.  Furthermore, the gothic design will branch off of the classical designs that were covered in the seminar.

Research Question(s): Did Gilbert Woolworth’s gothic style skyscraper, the Woolworth Building, provide inspiration for C. Emlen Urban in designing the building for Harold’s Furniture?  If so, what specific features resemble these similarities?  Could the Gothic Revival style reflected in Harold’s also have other sources of inspiration?  How does this building differ from the other buildings Urban designed?

Annotated Bibliography 

Boyce, William. To Build Strong and Substantial: The Career of Architect C. Emlen Urban. [Lancaster, Pa.]: City of Lancaster, Pa., 2009. Print.

This book covers in detail all of C. Emlen Urban’s buildings that he designed.  It specifically mentions Harold’s, the style used (Gothic Revival), the structure of the building (firmitas), materials used, the utilitas of the building, other relevant information on Urban and his architecture.

Fenske, Gail. The Skyscraper and the City: The Woolworth Building and the Making of Modern New York. Chicago: University of Chicago, 2008. Print.

This book will give a background for the Woolworth Building, as well as go into detail about its architectural design and aesthetics.  This will help me gain a better understanding about the building itself and the different features that make it what it is.

Gilbert, Cass, Barbara S. Christen, and Steven Flanders. Cass Gilbert, Life and Work: Architect of the Public Domain. New York: W.W. Norton &, 2001. Print.

This book will give me background on the architect that designed the Woolworth Building, Cass Gilbert.  It will help in my research as it will provide information about the different styles he implemented in his architecture as well as what influenced him.

O’Gorman, James F. ABC of Architecture. Philadelphia, PA: University of Pennsylvania, 1998. Print.

The book used in class will provide information regarding a structure’s utilitas, firmitas, and venustas. These principals will be applied to both the Harold’s Furniture building as well as the Woolworth Building in order to determine any similarities.

Primary Sources

  1. Photos of C. Emlen Urban buildings found at the Lancaster Historical Society
  2. Potential sources that may have influence C. Emlen Urban (such as books, designs, etc.) found at the Lancaster Historical Society
  3. Images / blueprints / layout plans of the Woolworth Building found, online, in books found at Shadek-Fackental Library, and other sources.
  4. Sanborn maps of Lancaster, found at the Archives section of Martin Library
  5. Google Earth images of the Woolworth Building.

Action Plan

Week 7

In week 7, I will analyze the Sanborn maps in Martin Library, as well as conduct various research online.

Week 8

(Spring Break)

In week 8, I will read and re-read the books used in my bibliography in order to gain a firm grasp on the material used in the comparison of the project.

Week 9

In week 9, I will visit the building that used to be Harold’s Furniture Store, and take notes that would be relevant in producing a basis of comparison (Vitruvius’ ideologies).

Week 10

I will continue to read the books listed in the bibliography in Week 10.

Week 11

In week 11, I will visit the Lancaster Historical Society so that I may hopefully come across pictures of Harold’s Furniture store.  Also I will be looking for any relevant material, such as documents or newspaper articles that shed light on the Gothic Revival in Lancaster.

Week 12

In week 12, I will begin to formulate a cohesive argument bridging the architectural ideas between Urban and Gilbert.  In this process, I will begin writing a paper.

Week 13

In week 13, I will continue to write the research paper, as well as construct a model of Harold’s Furniture Store in Google SketchUp.  This model will be compared to a Google Earth model of the Woolworth Building.

Week 14

Final touches will be done to the paper and presentation in week 14.


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.

Bausman Building (1906)

February 16, 2012


The structure currently houses a pottery and bead workshop, a rock, fossil and mineral shop, and a recording studio.  The building’s first floor was originally intended to house a drug store, which is evident by the glass storefront occupying two of the three arcuated openings. The three upper floors were originally intended for offices and residences.  This functionality has not changed throughout the years, as the top three floors have been, and are still, used for office space.  In previous years, the building has served as a bookstore, which is appropriate due to the large display area of the storefront windows.


The building was constructed using Indiana limestone.  The structure follows a trabeated pattern, which can be seen from the exterior design of the first floor. The internal beams within the building also follow a post-and-lintel system. Rusticated piers at the ground floor divide the building’s façade into three bays, while arched broken pediments distinguish the second-floor windows.  The first of the three bays on the ground floor is essentially an alleyway with different shops branching off of it.  This design draws the customer in so that they can browse the offerings of various stores.


The building is distinguishable as a C. Emlen Urban building, as it features a tall white brick façade.  The limestone is light in color in comparison to neighboring buildings, which may have been meant to make the structure stand out.  The building follows a symmetrical, or formal, plan.  Urban was influenced by classical style architecture when designing this building; the cornice that runs along the top of the building, as well as the corbels underneath, are examples of classical ornamental features.  The rectangular shape of the windows complements the symmetry of the trabeated structure.  The columns that are present on the first floor are not very complicated in design but do, however, follow the overall theme of symmetry.

40-54 East Orange Street

February 3, 2012

Map Analysis

40-42 East Orange Street

In 1886, 40 East Orange Street was established as the location of the First Reformed Church of Lancaster, PA.  The church still is located on this block to this day. The structure has maintained its large presence, as it occupied approximately a third of the north face of the block.  A room located in the back left area of the church was added-on sometime between the years of 1897 and 1912.  Additionally, between these same years, construction may have been done to extend the top level (or roof) of the church upwards.

44 East Orange Street

This building was kept as a residence from 1886 – 1929.  However, between the years of 1897 and 1912, the backroom was expanded.  Three rooms were added sometime between 1897 and 1912 to the left side of the structure..  During that same year, the building served as a parsonage, or housing for the pastor (presumably for the First Reformed Church).   The structure is still intact and still serves as a residential building.

46 East Orange Street

46 East Orange was an entirely separate building from 44 East Orange in 1886 with a similar structure in 1891.  Between 1891 and 1897, the building was reconstructed and split into two separate buildings.  The result was a conjoined structure that ranged from 44 to 50 East Orange. Rooms were rearranged such that the back of the building was longer with more stories than originally designed.  Finally, in 1929, another addition was made to the southern portion of the building, which then contained office space.  The front building was three stories high, where as the other rooms were lower in height.  The structure does not exist today.

48 East Orange Street

A structure did not occupy the space of 48 East Orange in neither 1886 nor 1891.  In 1897, as mentioned before, construction was done so that a 46 and 48 East Orange were connected.  The building served as a dwelling between the years of 1886 and 1929.  The structure does not exist currently.

50 East Orange Street

This structure was designated as a residence through the years of 1886 and 1929.  One note of mention is the room located in the southern most part of the building.  The room was expanded in both width and height between 1891 and 1897.  However, sometime between 1897 and 1912, the room was demolished and another room was added on the left side of the structure.  The structure no longer exists, as room was made for a parking lot / garage for the neighboring courthouse.

52 East Orange Street

Up until 1929, 52 East Orange Street did not exist.  The address was created after the expansion to the neighboring Pennsylvania Business & Shorthand College.  The structure was made separate from the college between the years of 1912 and 1929.  The structure no longer exists.

54 East Orange Street

54 East Orange Street was established as St. Paul’s Reformed Church until 1912, when it was converted into Pennsylvania Business & Shorthand College.   An additional room was constructed sometime between 1912 and 1929, and its function changed to house office space.  Presently, the structure serves as the Lancaster County Courthouse.

Venustas on Main Street

The features of the First Reformed Christ Church include multiple columns that surround the second floor window.  The structure also contains arcuated designs, which can be found on the doorways, windows, and spires.  The spire-like structures at the top give off a castle aged feel, which is what the architect probably wanted people to think of.  Religion, in the architects eyes, is equally as important as castles used to be. The facade was built using brick, giving it a reddish hue that blends in with neighboring buildings.

This building gives off a residential feel.  It is communicating to the passerby that the structure was built to serve as an abode.  However, the flags that are mounted dictate that it presently has a different function.  The building’s brick facade and windows align with the symmetrical design.  Wooden window shutters compliment the Colonial style look, as well as the covered porch area to the right of the building, which is supported by typical columns.

Conrad Gast (1800-1884) Tombstone

February 3, 2012

Conrad Gast, father of Amos C., Mary Miley, and Catharine Hart, left a widow, Harriet Gast, when he died on December 10th, 1884.   He was 84 years of age when he passed away.  His first wife, Catherine S., died at the young age of 28 on August 26th, 1847.  He then later remarried to Harriet who, as a widow, requested to plead her case as the dower of his estate.  Harriet died August 3rd, 1890.  Both Catherine and Harriet are buried to the left and right of Conrad’s tomb.  All three graves are identical, so it must be assumed that they were constructed when Conrad died in 1884.

Sources Used:

The Lancaster Law Review, “Estate of Conrad Cast.” Lancaster: Inquirer Printing, 1886. 89-90. Google books. Web. 30 Jan. 2012