Archive for the ‘Meghan Dean’ Category

Watt & Shand Displays Reality Behind Windows

April 7, 2012

Over the past week I was able to get some more extensive pictures of the Watt & Shand Building. I discovered the realistic displays of the windows, how they differ and relate to the inner design of the store, and how people react to the windows themselves.

Before I offer the pictures and a little interpretation of each I want to share some background information about the Watt & Shand department store that I was able to discover in the Watt & Shand Collection at the Lancaster Historical Society.


Peter T. Watt, Gilbert Thompson, and James Shand were merchantile apprentices who were looking to build a store in a wealthier area where they would not face great competition. February 22, 1878 was the first announcement that this very “New York” store was coming to 20-22 East King Street, Lancaster, PA. Its new and exciting nature was reflected in its name.

This new store would be the first department store to sell a variety of foreign and domestic dry goods. Its space, however, was limited and their stock was not extensive.

On March 9, 1878 the store made its first sale that pushed the store to great success. Over the next thirty years the store expanded and sought to serve the best interest of the customers. The store encouraged shoppers to stay longer than posted hours to create a true welcoming atmosphere.

As demand increased, the store moved to 8-10 East King Street and officially became the Watt & Shand Company. In 1885 the company bought the building next door and occupied 6-10 East King. On this site the name was shortened to Watt & Shand as it stayed for the remainder of its existence.

At this point, the store had expanded its merchandising and now sold ladies clothing. This addition of fashion, drove Lancaster into a new era. In 1896 the corner of Penn Square were bought and the store added shoe, millinery, and carpet departments.

To emphasize the great success, the filing received a new facade in 1898. The facade of terra cotta, light grey brick and marble was designed by Lancaster’s architect, C. Emlen Urban and still exists at the south east corner of Penn Square.

By the 20th century Watt & Shand had become part of Lancaster’s entertainment. Its central locale became the place to hang out as trolley cars and elevators made it easier to move around and soda fountains offered a place to get a refreshment.

During the 50’s and 60’s the store had bought out neighboring Appel and Weber finest jewelry store and Hager’s Department store.

The success of this store was made possible by their desire to serve the whole community of Lancaster. Through their displays and friendly environment, Watt & Shand was one of the first and most influential department stores.



Photo Collection Watt & Shand

March 31, 2012

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

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

The photos are posted below. Stay tuned for more.

Interior View


(1930) Source:


(Arial View) Source:




Research: Windows of the Department Store

March 26, 2012

My goal of research this far has been to obtain some background information about retail shopping in Lancaster, Pa, the role of windows in the success of department stores, and most specifically about the windows of the Watt & Shand Department Store.

This week I will make a trip downtown to the historical society to look at photos of the Watt & Shand building over time and analyze the window displays. I will also interpret the effectiveness of the windows in this building specifically.


Source:  Lancaster Historical Society. Lancaster at Work: Business in Lancaster County Pennsylvania. Lancaster: Lancaster County Historical Society, 2006. Print.

Lancaster’s retail history began with dry goods stores. These were the first stores with bulk merchandising of textiles, clothes, food and hardware. These general stores were the main shopping offerings of the 19th century.

The Watt & Shand department store became the dominant department store at the turn of the century. It was founded by Peter Watt, Gilbert Thompson, and James Shand in 1879 who bought stock and building for the store located at 20-22 East King Street. This was deemed the New York Store and its business was essential t0 serving the fashion needs of Lancaster.

One year after opening, the store moved to 8-10 East King Street and began buying out neighboring businesses. It bought out the Gerhart Clothing Store in 1855 and the Prangley Building on the corner of Penn Square in 1895. C. Emlen Urban was hired to replace the Prangley Building with a four story structure that now serves as the Mariott downtown. By 1970 they had acquired the Appel and Weber Jewelery store and the local Hager’s.

Watt & Shand was a department store that supplied men’s and women’s clothing, shoes, furs, household items and a soda fountain. Its windows were tastefully decorated and there were always sales promotions. It’s enticing atmosphere made it a place not only for retail needs, but for entertainment.

The store was bought in 1992 by the Bon-Ton chain department store. It’s presence remained at the Park City Center, or mall, but the downtown store closed in 1995. This marked the end of Lacaster’s downtown shopping landmark.

Below is a 1938 photograph of the Watt & Shand Department Store designed by C. Emlen Urban.


source: Clausen, Meredith L. “Shopping Centers.” Encyclopedia of Architecture Design, Engineering and Construction. Vol. 4. New York: John Wiley & Sons, 1989. Print.

Department stores were part of the rise of shopping center’s in the 1950’s and were evolving at the turn of the century. Prior to their development, however, there was a historical progression of shopping style.

The shopping center and department store were preceded by early trade in the city. The downtown market place was a staple communal space that remained prominent until the twentieth century. The Greek agora, was a center of communal and open shops in classical Greek cities. It was a very informal public plaza where trade and travel could occur easily. Next came the Roman forum, where small specialty shops were grouped into market buildings opened to the street.

In the middle ages of Europe, formalized merchandising declined and merchants and seasonal fairs became the main source of buying goods. As cities began to increase in size in the seventeenth century, however, permanent stores and shops resurfaced. These stores faced the street and were on the ground floor of residential and commercial buildings. The nineteenth century gave rise to the production of glass which was essential for the convenience of shopping in bad weather and for the increasingly popular window shopping.

As the industrial revolution drove the rise of large cities, mass produced products, the railroad, and mass transportation, the standard of living increased in addition to the increase in population. This called for a change in retail strategy. In the 1860’s the modern department store developed and remained concentrated in the core of the city.



source:  Franklin and Marshall College. Retail windows in Lancaster, Pennsylvania. A Report of The Research Committee of the Window Display Advertising Association . Lancaster, PA: New York, Association of National Adverisers, 1928. Print.

Hoping to find specific insight on the organization of the retail windows of Lancaster, I found a study on the windows of business in Lancaster. Unfortunately there were no specific stores named, but the study did show the effectiveness of attractive, changing, and clean window displays.

Some background of Lancaster in the twentieth century noted that Lancaster was a small city of about 60,000 people. It was a trading center and an essential manufacturing city. The goal of the project was to report the appearance of store windows. The class of the store, the nature of the business, the state of the windows, and the presence of national advertising was noted.

Below is an example of the questionnaire that was filled out by a member of the store’s management. 

The study found that higher class stores believed that showing national window display material increased sales, and these national advertisements were used where they would be the most effective. Shops of a better class were found to have more general display material. Many of the windows were found to be clean, but not all were attractive due to the lack of knowledge of effective window display. The study also found that window displays were appreciated and used and thought to act as a selling ad.



Hager Building (1910-1911)

February 17, 2012



The Hager building located at 25 West King Street is visibly five stories high and structurally symmetrical. It follows a trebeated style of construction, which is evident due to its use of post and lentils for support. The post and lentils are articulated in the façade of the building by the division of windows by columns, acting as bays, and beams intercepting the columns acting as lentils.

The three bays located on the façade are visibly made of steel. The windows located in the expanse of the three bays make the building appear more open and light. Aside from the steel frames of windows, the building appears to be made of a ceramic or cement that hides the rest of its construction.


The large clear windows on the first floor create a sense of openness. The windows wrap around into the alcove in which the entrance is located and make the building very welcoming. This sense of welcoming and direction of onlookers’ attention to the doors makes it seem as though the building was used for some sort of retail or shop.

The white ceramic and details on the façade make the building appear very rich and attractive, which would attract buyers. Additionally, the combination of this very renaissance like style with the more modern bay windows with steel artifice make the building appear to be representing progression from old to new. This idea of progress in addition to success from the renaissance ages would attract retailers.

Due to the large bay windows the building is definitely not residential and most likely served a purpose of commercial use.


From the outside, the Hager Building seems to flow with the rest of the buildings. Although beautiful, its features do not stick out and distract from the rest of the block. It seems to follow a formal plan, which explains its symmetry and monochromatic façade. The most obvious features are the three bay windows that add modernity to the building. The windows allow natural light to enter the building and make the building uniquely beautiful and open. They are emphasized by the offsetting of the dark steel panels with the cream beams that divide each of them.

The cream ceramic features are very ornamental.  Above the first floor there is a simple engraved pattern that spans the length of the building. On either side of this span is a very intricate ornamental fixture that appears to draw from the architecture and sculpture from the renaissance.

Above the bay windows there are less intricate fixtures that are spaced evenly across. They add detail and dimension to the building so that its façade is not just a flat rectangle. The building adheres to symmetry on each division of a story.

Elevation Sketch of the Hager Building:


West Orange Street 30-50

February 3, 2012

30 West Orange Street: In 1886 the Moravian church appears on the map. This is logical due to its establishment in 1746. At this time it is a one story, one room brick building on the corner of West Orange and North Market. It sits displaced from the street, and appears to have a school attached. It is unclear whether or not the school is located at the same address, but nevertheless, it is in an adjacent building on North Market. After researching I was not able to discover if the church and school were affiliated, but at the time it was common for Moravian churches to have schools for Moravian students attached. In 1891, the Moravian church stands in the same location and the school is still located behind it. No change appears at the 30 West Orange address. In 1897 it is clear that the school is now associated with the Moravian church that still stands. The school is listed as a Parochial school and its floor plan has obvious doorways to the church. The original building at 30 West Orange is in the same condition, but has received the addition of the two-story school and the adjacent one story building adjacent located on the side of the building that does not face North Market Street.

By 1912 the Moravian Church is no longer harboring a school in its construct. Though the building still maintains the addition that was the school in 1897, it is now all space for the church. The space also seems to have been updated from brick construction, to brick construction with a metal cornice. The church also appears to have undergone some construction, for its floor plan now reads that the original building from 1746 is one to two floors instead of just one floor. This is also the earliest appearance of notation that the building has heating by a furnace and electric lighting. By 1920 the construction has changed quite a bit. The church still occupies the space, is made of brick and has a furnace and electric lighting. The floor plan, however, has changed with the addition of four rooms adjacent to the corners of the rear room, which was also the building that was once a school. The rear room is also now three floors instead of two.

Today, the church is only remembered by a placard that denotes its past existence in this location. Currently, a modernized brick building houses the Community First Fund at 30 West Orange Street. The building has a parking garage and an interesting cylinder like structure in the forefront of the main building.

36 West Orange Street: In 1886 a three-room two-story brick building resides on the 36 West Orange locations. It is set back from the street and the specific function of the building is not legible. In 1891 the building still exists in the same conditions as previously mentioned. By 1897 the building has gone through some renovations. The room closest to West Orange Street, or the front of the building, is now listed at two floors. The middle room is also listed at two floors and the furthest room is listed at one floor. There was also an addition of a fourth room off of the first room. It is only one story, and is the smallest of all the rooms.

In 1912 the building serves the function listed as Moravian Personage. It is still in the same location and structure as last mentioned. By 1920 the building exists in the same state and function. Today, however, the building does not exist. The address is currently occupied by the parking garage for the Community First Fund. The Community First Fund resides on 30 West Orange Street and spans across to 36 West Orange.

38 West Orange Street: In 1886, a three story, small rectangular brick building sits back from the street at 38 West Orange Street. It does not have any specific function listed. The building seems to be attached to the building located at 40 West Orange Street, with an occupancy that is not legible on the map. In 1891 building still exists and is three stories. Its function unfortunately is not legible, but it is attached to the 40 West Orange address. In 1897 the building is clearly part of the 40 West Orange Street occupancies and serves as the offices for the Tobacco Company that resides there. The building maintains the same locale but is now two stories instead of three. By 1912 the building has expanded to become part of the Lowell Harness and Collar Company. It is still two stories tall but has expanded width wise from its original position. The building now appears to be eight rooms attached to the building located at 38 West Orange Street.

By 1929 the location seems to be split by two buildings. There is a skinny rectangular building that reaches to the street adjacent to a building that spans as a part of the Ware Rooms and apartments located at 40 West Orange Street. Today the address is home to Access Personal Service Incorporated and is made of cement and cinderblock instead of the original brick. The building is modernized and appears to be about two stories like the original occupant of the address.

40 West Orange Street: In 1886, 40 West Orange Street is a three-room building that also encompasses 38 West Orange Street. It is three stories in the two buildings directly behind the address, and is composed of brick. Unfortunately, its function is not legible. In 1891 the building maintains the same construction as in 1886. It function, however, is listed as offices.

In 1897 the address consists of two additional buildings added to the rear of the prior ones. The two original buildings at the address remain three stories tall, but the additional two are two stories tall. The function of the building appears to be a Tobacco Company. By 1912 the address has expanded into Lowell Harness and Collar Company. It consists of eight buildings, seven of which reside directly behind the address at 40 West Orange Street. Of the four buildings added since 1897, two are two stories, and two are one story. The buildings with legible functions server as collar marketing and collar stuffing. In 1929 address takes up 38 and 40 West Orange and serves as the Ware Rooms and as apartments. The address is only made up of four rooms, two at the front of the building, one skinny intermediate room, and then an extensive back room with three stories.

Today the building does not exist. The extensive space that one occupied 40 West Orange Street is only a parking lot. The parking lot can only be accessed from North Prince Street.

42-44 West Orange Street: In 1886 an extensive carriage company is located at 42-44 West Orange Street. It is comprised of what appears to be six rooms. The main room located closest to the street is four stories tall and denotes Ware Rooms. It is logical that these are just rooms associated with the company. All rooms behind are three stories. In 1891 the carriage company still exists at the same address. The second room back from the front of the building has been sectioned into three rooms. The main room still denotes Ware Rooms.

By 1897 the building is denoted as D.A. Atlick’s Sons Carriage Company. The second room back from the street is no longer sectioned into three rooms and one of the adjacent rooms is now one story. All following rooms are still three stories. In 1912 the building located on this address is slightly smaller that the original. The room closest to the street is now four and a half stories and is only followed by three large rooms. The building serves the function of public storage. In 1929, the building is expanded wider in the back portions. The first two rooms are still large and not sectioned, but the back room is expanded and sectioned into seven rooms. The first two rooms have the same number of stories, but the back rooms range from one to three stories. The function of the building is now listed as American Seed Company and United Stores Company. The front two rooms are used for mail orders. Today, most of this plot is occupied by a tar parking lot. Kim’s Custom Cleaning, however, does span some of the address closer to the corner of North Prince and West Orange Street.

50 West Orange Street (59 North Prince Street): In 1886 Union Bethel, established in 1845, occupies 50 West Orange Street. It is two to three stories and is only one room. In 1891 and 1897 the address is structurally and functionally the same as it was in 1886. In 1912 the building is listed as Bethel of the Church of God. It has a furnace for heating and electric lights. The building is now listed as two stories in the front of the building, but three stories on the wall facing North Market Street. In 1929, the building is not listed with any function, but is sectioned into four rooms. The front room is “L” shaped in the corner of the building next to North Prince. It is one story at this point. The interior room is three stories, followed by another three-story section, a two story section and lastly a two and a half story section. Today the building is window fronted and serves as Kim’s Custom Cleaners. The address of the business is listed as 59 North Prince Street.




30 West Orange Street: Today, 30 West Orange Street is occupied by a modern looking building. Luckily due to its brick exterior that disguises its interior structure, it does adhere to the flow of the more dated block.

The building is “picturesque” in its form for it is not symmetrical and consists of additive structures that stray from the simplicity of the classical style. The second floor of the building overhangs over the first floor to create the abstract shape. The location of this building on a corner plot allows attention to be drawn to the irregularities. The building also consists of plain cement cornices that line the two levels of the flat roof.

There is no significant ornamentation on the building but the most notable feature is the cylinder addition on the front of the building. The shape gives the building its modern appearance while adding some visual appeal.


38 West Orange Street: The façade of 38 West Orange is marked by a variety of textures and components. Most notably the building is asymmetrical in form and comprised of a decorative brick top half and a white cement bottom half. On the lining of both flat roofs is a simple classical style cornice.

The building’s brick exterior does not reflect light and the two overhanging dormers above the door cast shadows on the sidewalk. To make up for the lack of natural light absorbed, the building has light fixtures that reside on either side of the two doors.

The contrast of the white shutters on the red brick draws attention to the upper half of the building. Due to the contrasting colors the building is more picturesque than formal.


50 West Orange Street: At 50 West Orange Street there are two recognizable facades. The first level of the building consists completely of windows with dividing framing. In between each set of windows is a contrasting frame of cream cement. The rest of the level consists of gray cement. At the roof of the first level is a simple decorative cornice that continues across the whole perimeter of the building’s lower level. There are ornamental fixtures accented with a maroon color that are placed on the ends of the outer walls as well as at the points where the windows are separated. The fixtures are not ornate but draw from a renaissance style of ornamentation.

The large windows allow natural light to flow in and for the building to appear open and light.  It also allows natural light to be reflected back onto the street.

The second level of the building is displaced further back from the first. Its façade is brick and does not flow with the lower level. The most notable feature is the asymmetric and stair like silhouette. Due to the architectural design of the building, there are five levels of flat roof’s that all have a simple marble like cornices at their edges. The building also has two arch style windows that differ from the other windows on the same face. This is characteristic of a picturesque form of venustas. The building also has three recessed bays in which the windows are located. This gives the building depth and interesting aesthetic character.

Mary M. Gerhart Tomb, Lancaster Cemetery

February 2, 2012

The Christian bible phrase “not as I will but as thou wilt” (Matthew 26:39) marks the tombstone of Mary M. Gerhart. Mary lived a short life of forty-two years from June 24, 1824 to July 18, 1866. In her short life, however, she married twice and had three children.

Mary’s first husband was Frederick S. Hunter of Reading, Pennsylvania. Frederick worked at Leesport as a manager and part owner of Leesport Furnace. They lived together on South Fifth Street in Reading Pennsylvania and had three children; Nicholas R. Hunter, Leonora H. Leaf, and Mary H. Pusey. On August 20, 1863 Frederick died and left Mary a widow.

In August of 1865, Mary married Emanuel Vogel Gerhart. Emanuel was born in Freeburg, Pennsylvania on June 13, 1817. He was educated at the Classical School in York, Pennsylvania and moved with it to Mercersburg, Pennsylvania in 1835 when it became Marshall College. After graduating he taught and was ordained a minister in 1842. He then served as a minister for six years before moving to Ohio to become president of Heidelberg College.

Interestingly, Emanuel was sworn in as the first President of Franklin and Marshall College in 1855. He served as the president until 1866 and during his time in office increased the student body, built main college buildings and raised $10,000 for the school’s endowment.

Emanuel was married a total of three times, with Mary being his second wife. His first wife was Eliza Richenbaugh who died in 1864. Next, Emanauel married Mary until her death in 1866. His last wife, Lucille Cobb, outlived him.

Although Mary and Emanuel were only married for one year before her death, she took his name to the grave and is buried on a plot of land with important Franklin and Marshall founding figures.