Archive for the ‘Joseph Porchetta’ Category

Windrim-Urban Week One

March 9, 2012

Stephen McCulloch

Windrim-Urban Correspondence

This weeks goal was to visit the Lancaster Historical Society and look at the letters of correspondence from James Windrim to Emlen Urban in regards to the construction of the First Post Office here in Lancaster. Windrim is the Supervising Architect and is writing to Urban from his location in Washington D.C. Urban is the On-Sight architect, basically there to ensure that Windrim’s requests and plans are executed as wished. Urban assumes an apprentice type position under the guidance of Windrim and through the various letters one can begin to better understand their relationship.

I used primary sources from the Lancaster Historical Society’s archives. These documents were the letters from Windrim (located in Washington D.C.) to Urban (located in Lancaster) they are dated from late 1889 to early 1990 and include the various discussions pertaining to the construction of the first Post Office in Lancaster.

The information below is verbatim from the letters.

September 25, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

Your letter of the 16th. Instant is received, and you are advised that your recommendation that the street curb on the Duke Street side of the building under your charge and the gas and water pipes be brought within the curb line, before the street is paved, is approved.

Please obtain and forward with your recommendation proposals for furnishing and setting to city grade, granite street curb 6” X 2’, also for bringing the gas and water pipes within the curb line and connecting same to mains in the street. The pipes to be brought in at point nearest the airshaft up which the risers will go. Also for removing the two large trees which interfere with the setting of the curb. The sewer will not go out on the Duke Street side.

You will further advised in regard to your assignment to duty as soon as a decision is made on the bids received for the masonry of the building.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

October 18, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, enclosing proposals for furnishing and pleading street curb for the building under your charge.

As you state that the parties bidding will furnish curb at a lower rate per lineal foot if the depth of the curb averages 2’, i.e., 1’ 10” at one end and 2’ 2” at the other end, instead of it being 2’ in depth, I will thank you to obtain revised proposals in one lump sum for the curbing required, and on receipt of said proposals forward to this office with your recommendations.

In inviting proposals you will please give your careful attention to Section XXX of the printed “Instructions to Superintendents.”

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

October 18, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 15th instant, and you are hereby authorized to accept the proposal enclosed therein, of Messre. Flinn and Breneman, in amount twelve dollars and sixty cents (12.80) to lay complete 2” diameter galvanized wrought-iron service-pipe from the city main on Duke Street to the inside of curb line of the building under your charge, the city main to be tapped full size, to be supplied with the Corporation stop-eoek at curb. In accordance with the city regulations, price being deemed reasonable and a public exigency requiring the immediate performance of the work.

Upon completion of the work to your entire satisfaction you will forward a voucher for payment, to this office, the amount to be charged against the appropriation for the building.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

October 22, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 19th instant with reference to the number of inviting proposals for furnishing and placing the street curb for the building under your charge.

In reply I have to advise you that said proposals should be invited by circular letter, prepared by you and addressed to three or more responsible parties in your vicinity.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

October 23, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

Referring to proposals received under advertisement dated August 24th, 1889, and opened at this office at 2 o’clock P.M., on the 17th day of September, 1889, for the stone and brick masonry, etc. for the building under your charge, you are advised that the Department having directed that all action pertaining to the construction of said building be deferred until it is determined whether Congress will increase the limit of cost of site and building, all the bids received under the advertisement have been rejected.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

October 29, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

I am in receipt of your letter of the 24th instant enclosing two proposals, unopened, which you received under circular letter issued from your office.

You are hereby authorized to accept the bid of Messrs. R.S. Oster & Bro., in amount two hundred and nineteen dollars ($219.00) for furnishing and setting on the Duke Street front of the building under your charge, Maine granite curbing six (6) inches wide on top and averaging two (2) feet deep, good axed work, including return stone on Marion Street, and the removal of two large trees, etc., the price being deemed reasonable and a public exigency requiring the immediate performance of the work, which is to be paid for from the appropriation for the building.

Upon the completion of the work to your entire satisfaction you will please report to this office in accordance with the requirements of the Section XL of the printed “Instructions to Superintendents.” Page 2, 6.E.U.

I have to call your attention to a careful perusal of Section XXX of the printed Instructions named, and in this connection especially to the third line of Part 2 of said section, relative to opening bids.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

November 14th, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

You are hereby requested and instructed to prepare and forward to this office on Saturday of each week, in connection with the building under your charge a letter giving:

1st.            A description of the work done under each contract during the week.

2nd.            A statement as to whether in your opinion the work embraced in each contract is being so prosecuted as will secure its completion within the stipulated time.

3rd.            A statement as to the condition of the building, and whether the general conduct of all is satisfactory.

The above instructions must not be constructed as in any way modifying the requirements of paragraph 14 of Section LIV of the printed “Instructions to Superintendents”, and “Circular letter” dated May 1st, 1889 in regard thereto.

Please promptly acknowledge the receipt of this letter.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

December 3, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

Your letter of the 29th ultimo is received, stating the necessity of repairing sidewalk on the Duke Street side of the building in your charge.

Please forward an estimate of the cost of doing this work, and you are advised that, either an estimate of the cost of proposals for doing any work not included in contracts, should accompany your recommendations or requisitions of this character, so that immediate action can be taken.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

December 9, 1889

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

In view of the recommendation contained in your letter of the 4th. Instant, and the public exigency requiring the immediate delivery of the articles and performance of the work, you are hereby authorized to incur an expenditure not exceeding twenty-five dollars ($25) for repairing the sidewalk on the Duke Street side of the building under your charge.

Please certify and forward to this Department vouchere therefore, for payment from the appropriation for the building.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

January 6th, 1890

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

This office is in receipt, of what purports to be a statement from you of the completion of the work embraced in the proposal of R.S. Oyster and Brother, accepted October 29th, 1889, for labor and material, for curbing on Duke and Marion Streets, and the removal of two trees from the site, for the proposed new building in your city.

I have therefore caused to be prepared and herewith enclose, a voucher in duplicate in favor of the contractors, in the full amount of their proposal, viz:- two hundred and nineteen dollars ($219.00), and if the work has been completed to your satisfaction please certify, cause the same to be receipted by the contractors and return it to the Department for payment.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

January 24th, 1890

Mr. C. Emlen Urban,

Superintendent, Post Office,

Lancaster, Pa.

Sir:

As requested in your letter of the 2oth.  Instant, I have caused to be prepared and herewith enclose, a voucher, in duplicate, drawn in favor of Film and Breneman, in the amount of their proposal accepted October 18th, 1889, viz:- twelve and 60/100 dollars ($12.60), for laying complete 2” galvanized wrought iron service pipe to curb line of the building in your charge, the work having been satisfactorily completed, as per your report.

Please certify the voucher and return it to this office, for completion and payment, from the appropriation for the building, as authorized.

Respectfully yours,

Windrim

Supervising Architect.

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Municipal Building elevation sketch

February 17, 2012

Venustas of Downtown Lancaster City block

February 17, 2012

#1-  Building one is now a citizen bank building and the structure stood in the 1921 map of Lancaster.  Its venustas is brought out through many of the buildings features such as its many symmetric windows that wrap around the entirity of the building.  Also one will see venustas right out in front of the structure where they placed a beautiful fountain with a a sculpture protruding out of it.

#2- Number two is now a Lancaster History building, but rather than change the exterior completely, they kept the first floor exterior the same as it was in 1921, evident clearly because in stone it still says “Harold’s” across the middle in memory of the previous use for this space.  Many beautiful details stick out such as the arc right above the doorway, the old classic looking lights, and the little detailed rectangles that come out of the stone structure.

#3- This is the Lancaster Sunday News building and was also part of the 1921 sequence.  Large rectangular front windows open this up to the public who walk by.  Gold trimming and black stone where the stores name sits is a different style than the rest of the buildings in this street sequence.  Lastly two gold circular clocks sit symmetrically on both sides of the building, another detailed contribution.

#4- Number four is a part of the Sunday News building, yet it stands a little more indented than its adjacent structure.  It sits atop very nice looking red stone and has a series of very tall rectangular windows that open up the inside to the public.  These windows run up all the way to the top, although the sizes vary as you go up.

#5- Like the Lancaster History building, number five has an old stone slab running across with “Kirk Johnson & CO.” inscribed on it.  This structure existed in 1921 but with a different utility.  The original first floor exterior and the newer second and third story exterior   are very different yet blend well together.  A very large square window sits in front with gold and green trimming on its detailing.  As you go up you see a nice white colored stone extending to the top.  The second and third story also have very large detailed windows running straight up the middle of the structure.

#6- Building six also existed in 1921.  It is now Envy Studio, the first floor exterior shows a gold color stone with large symmetric windows on both sides of the door.  At the top of the first story is a narrow dark strip of a softer wood like material.  The rest of the building is comprised of brick, an older style with rich detailing at the top.  Also noticeable are black star like details that run across the mid section.

#7- Like the two others before this, this building shows its adaptive reuse by portraying its original “Steinman Hardware” on the front.  Right beneath the old name is a very detailed image that expresses the phrase “Oldest Hardware Store in The United States”.  This is a beautiful, original feature of this building and expresses it importance in the City of Lancaster.  Present day it is The Pressroom Restaurant and has 4 very large windows opening up the front.  The second and third story is comprised of very old looking red brick and blue window sills.  The entire front face of the building is filled with rich trimming and other small details.

#8- The first floor is made up of a softer wood like material, painted an off white color and has two large windows on the sides of the entrance.  The second and third floor is comprised of red brick and blue shutters like the building to its left.  Above the windows are detailed sills that stick out a few inches.  Other unique moldings are shown throughout the building as well.

Lancaster Municipal Building

February 16, 2012

Utilitas

This structure serves as the Municipal building for the City of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  It is unique because in 1931, this buildings utility purpose was changed from a post office into the Municipal building it is today.  This gesture is important because it expresses Lancaster’s adaptive reuse of buildings. Instead of getting rid of the post office, they decided to maximize the preservation of this buildings beautiful exterior features and use it for a different purpose.  The Municipal building is located on the corner of North Duke Street and has 2 easily accessible entrances for its civic workers and townspeople.  Its 2 story structure supports the many municipality departments that this building houses.

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Firmitas

This building exterior is comprised of limestone but it backed with brick.  The structural system features a very little use of iron, in part because of the buildings weight bearing masonry walls.  Arcs are shown throughout the entirety of this building where each window slot is.  These arcs help support the Municipal buildings weight by distributing it more evenly.  At the intersection of the building where the dome structure protrudes out, the arcs at the top help support its copper dome.

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Venustas

Lancaster City’s Municipal Building is one of the many beautiful buildings in this downtown area.  This is the sole example of the Venetian Renaissance or Morrish style of architecture in Lancaster.  All along the roofline and the corners of the tower is oxidized copper that is rich with detailing.  More exterior details such as panels, horseshoe shaped windows and moldings show very fine sculptural detail.  The most eye grabbing aspect of this structure is definitely the dome that is placed at the front corner of the building.  On the top lies a beautiful copper dome that is a different color than the rest of its surface, allowing it to be the first thing people look at when they look at this Municipal Building.

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Breneman Tombstone

February 13, 2012

Breneman Tombstone

The tombstone I was assigned to contained 4 names on it.  All of these names ended with Breneman.  During my search for any interesting or normal history on this family, I could not find much information.  I learned that Mary Elizabeth Breneman, who was born on February 17, 1845 and died on February 22, 1907, was a boarder at 128 East Walnut Street.

Mary Elizabeth Breneman

February 3, 2012

The tombstone I was assigned to contained 4 names on it.  All of these names ended with Breneman.  During my search for any interesting or normal history on this family, I could not find much information.  I learned that Mary Elizabeth Breneman, who was born on February 17, 1845 and died on February 22, 1907, was a boarder at 128 East Walnut Street.

East King Street 2-27, South Queen Street 7-21

February 3, 2012

1912

10 and 2 East King Street. Both of these locations in 1912 are part of the same building.  This particular building is Watt and Shand Department Store.  More advanced in technology in this year, as it shows an automatic sprinkler on the roof of the building.  This building structure still exists in Lancaster today.  As seen on the map of 1929, it is still the Watt and Shand Department Store, although in present day Lancaster it is a part of a new construction process, altering the outside, and now contains a bank in its place.

24 and 25 East King Street. Just as 10 and 2, 24 and 25 share the face of the same building.  Both narrow structures make up a wholesale liquor store.  The structure still remains today, but is also part of the new construction and bank.  Also, laid out in front of the buildings is a new and large circular fountain.

26 East King Street. 26 is a single, narrow building.  Due to the blurry letters on the map, it’s difficult to make out what its purpose was, but assuming its location it is probably a store of some kind.  This buildings structure still exists in downtown Lancaster, making up part of the new bank and in front of the newly designed fountain.

27 East King Street. 27 is also a single, narrow building located at the corner and extends back on its street side adjacent edge.  The foundation of the building still exists and helps make up part of the massive bank.

7 South Queen Street. 7 is a single, square shaped building which used to be an oils and painters club.  Although, being 4 stories high, it must have contained other aspects.  Possibly apartment style living.  This building still exists in present day Lancaster but it is no longer an oil and paint club.

9 and 11 South Queen Street. Although it’s hard to make out the writing on the map, these 2 addresses share the same building.  A store of some sort was contained in 9, and a kindergarden in 11.  The building still remains, but is filled with different stores.

13 South Queen Street. This building does not exist yet on the 1912 map.  There is a narrow strip in its place, although it does show up on the 1929 map.  Its creation would have had to be between 1912 and 1929.

15 South Queen Street. 15 was located with a tiny gap in between 9 and 11, where 13 was yet to be built.  The buildings purpose contained 2 apartments and a tailor shop.  This structure still remains today but it’s no longer a tailor shop.  It is no more than 2 stories, as it used to be, and contains a store on ground level.

17 South Queen Street. Like 15, this building also contained 2 apartments in it.  Other than apartment style living, it contained a harness making store.  The building still stands today, except it has more stories and does not contain its old harness making store (harnesses must have went out of style)

19 and 21 South Queen Street. Only half of what existed in 1921 exists in 1912.  It is still one lot and one building containing a young women’s Christian club.  In 1929, as well as in present day Lancaster, the building itself stretches as far back as where Watt and Shand’s Department Store is on East King Street.  This building still exists today but with a different purpose.

1891

10 and 8 East King Street. Both of these addresses make one slot of the building.  Up front, is some sort of office, but as it stretches back, it turns into a “Buisness College”.  While the structure is the same as in 1912, it doesn’t have many of the new technological aspects such as the automatic sprinklers in 1912.

6 East King Street. Contains a painting store, stretching as far back as 10 and 8, and even opens up and connects in the middle a little bit.  They must have taken out 10 and 8 at some point before 1912 and combined it to make Watt and Shands Department Store.

4 and 2 East King Street. Contains 2 buildings with two different entrances, although they do connect in the middle.  4 seems to be a harness shop and I can’t make out what building 2 is because of the print on the map.  On the adjacent side of the building on South Queen Street, lay 3 more stores, unlike in 1912 when it’s on big right angle of a building.

24 and 25 East King Street. These two addresses share the same lot.  The print on the map is very blurry but it looks like it contained a tailor shop and some sort of bookstore.  These stores changed by 1912 and joined buildings to create a wholesale liquor store.

26 East King Street. Contains a single standing building, although I can’t make out what the buildings purpose is on the map due to the small print.  From the descriptions on the 1891 map and the 1912 map it seems that store still remains the same.

27 East King Street. 27 contains a bank along with a good amount of its building on its adjacent side on South Queen Street.  In 1912, this building doesn’t exist, being it was conformed into one larger building.

7 South Queen Street. Just as it was in 1912, 7 is still a paint and oil supply center.

9 and 11 South Queen Street. Both of these addresses in 1891 are a part of one building, which is named “Hardm”.  By 1921, this building was split into two different categories containg a kindergarten and some other sort of store.

13 and 15 South Queen Street. Both of these addresses share the same building.  The purpose of it is an office building, with other miscellaneous smaller buildings, still attached, behind it.  Just like the 1912 map, there is still a gap between 11 and 13 South Queen Sreet.

17 South Queen Street. 17 is an individual building containing a drug store.  The buildings purpose changed before 1912 when it became apartment style living and a harness shop.

19 and 23 South Queen Street. Both of these buildings, while not connected; share the same sort of structure.  They are separated by a thin wall and has the letters “DWG” on both of them although I’m not sure the meaning of those letters.  Before 1912, these buildings were conjoined and made into a women’s Christian club.

1886

10, 8, and 6 East King Street. All of these addresses are a part of one rectangular style building with a wall from the front to about half way through the structure opening all of them up into one building.  The writing on the map is very hard to make out, but by 1891, the plot splits into basically 2 buildings which contained an office, business college, and a paint store.

4 East King Street. 4 is a slender building with an “R and S” logo on it.  Its purpose was only momentary, seeing as by 1891, it turns into a harness shop.

2 and 21 East King Street. This location shares the same building, spreading from East King, to its adjacent edge on South Queen.  This set up was also only momentary seeing as by 1891, there still contains stores on the adjacent edge of the building but they all contain different purposes.

22 East King Street. This plot contains a tiny rectangular shaped building.  The writing is too small to make out but by 1891, this store is no longer where it lies nor existing in 1886

24 and 25 East King Street. Both addresses create on, narrow and long rectangular shaped building.  In 1891, this building is still in the same location, possibly the containing the same stores.  But by 1912, this location was conjoined to make on large right angle shaped building.

26 and 27 East King Street. Just as in 1891, these two buildings remain independent containing different shops, they could possibly be the same as they are in 1891 but the print on both maps is too hard to make out.  Just like 24 and 25, by 1912, these buildings are wiped out to make one large building.

5 and 7 South Queen Street. While 5 isn’t in existence in 1891, these two addresses share a square shaped building, its purpose undetermined.  By 1891, this location turns into an oil and paint supply store.

9 and 11 South Queen Street. These two addresses share one building, and it is labeled “Harbor”.  Its unique in that this building stretches back significantly far and attaches to a different type of store.  By 1891 and 1912, the completely redo the style of this section, taking away the long narrow section that stretches to attach to another store.

13 and 15 South Queen Street. Both addresses come together in one building to form one big office building that stretches back pretty far with some other sort of square parts that are still attached. By 1891, the building remains the same, but by 1912, they are separated into two different structures

17 South Queen Street. 17 is one slender like rectangular building, with a skinnier rectangular building protruding out of the back of it.  Its purpose is, like in 1891, is a drug store.  By 1912, this turns into an apartment building.

19 South Queen Street. 19 is the same building structure, style, and purpose as it is in 1891.  It still contains the letters “DWG” on it but by 1912, it becomes another harness maker shop.

23 South Queen Street. 23 is drastically different than it was in both other years.  It is detached from building 19, and has the same “DWG” on it, making them two of the same buildings.  Both buildings remain detached in 1891, but by 1921, they get rid of both buildings, making one and turning it into a young women’s Christian club.