Progress: Week #4

April 6, 2012 by

The past week I have been making a mixture of technical and mechanical drawings based on the old pictures of North Queen Street.  These sketches will serve as a midway point between the actual buildings and photographer. After my sketches are completed, I will try to retake and recreate these old photos of current day North Queen Street.  I will then sketch these photos along with straight elevation plans of the first two blocks of North Queen Street.

The first sketch I have been working on is based on an isometric viewpoint.  This vantage point allows a 3-dimensional look and keeps all the buildings to the same relative scale.  These drawings will have more detail than the elevation sketches because they more attention to detail.  The buildings don’t exist anymore so I must study intently all of architectural characteristics in the 1900’s-1920’s photography.

In progress:

Week 4 Research- Separate Archive Info.

April 6, 2012 by

For the duration of the fourth week blog entry, I spent most of my time in the Archive Special Collections researching the two different firms I have been assigned for my final project, York & Sawyer and McKim Mead & White. Most of my time spent during this research section of the project was retrieving the documentation of the two architectural firms which are located in the University of Penn’s Archive Collection.  Today, on 4/6/2010 Tom paced through the University of Penn’s archive and the University of Columbia’s Archive to find some background and valid information of these two major firms located in New York City. Later in my research, I found out I would not be able to recover these documentations of these architectural companies until the following week, which would give Tom or Mike time to call the Archival centers, granting me access to these documents at these two separate universities.

My second objective during the fourth week of my research was to acquire some architectural work from both of these architectural firms and link the relevance of their work back to the Brunswick Hotel which is the main focus of my final research project.

York & Sawyer:

York and Sawyer were predominantly a Beaux-art architectural organization. The business was run by a partnership of two men, Edward York and Philip Sawyer. In 1898 both of these men established their business in New York City and began to become known for many of their outstanding structures. At the time, York & Sawyer became very popular in the construction of hospitals and banks. Both of these men trained in McKim, Mead and White.


The Former headquarters of the Brooklyn Headquarters:


McKim, Mead & White:

This was one of the most prominent architectural videos in the twentieth century.  The architectural firm has three partners who were Charles Mckim, William Mead and Stanford White. This specific firm was major training grounds for prominent architects, designers and draftsmen.



Haifa/Baedekers/Ocean Liners

April 6, 2012 by

Haifa is the largest city in Northern Israel. The city is known as architecturally beautiful, especially the Baha’i Gardens pictured above. The city lies about 60 miles north of Tel Aviv, and is an important trading port. This is probably why Urban visited. It is an easy, deep-water port that his ship could dock at and refuel. Also, in 1918 the city was taken over by the British. Under their mandate, Haifa became an industrial port city and was connected extensively with the rest of the world. Urban could have gotten on a train anywhere in the Middle East and ended up in Haifa, as there was the terminus to major train lines from Northern Africa to Iraq. Also, Haifa was a popular destination for ocean liners because the climate is beautiful all year long. Tempered by the Mediteranean, Haifa is also on the end of a large Wadi, or valley. The hot desert air from the east meets the fresh sea air outside of Haifa’s borders, so the city never gets too hot or humid.



Baedekers are a series of travel books, similar to a Frommers, that were quite popular for people that took European trips in the early part of the century. They are quite extensive, and Urban would have used them to plan his trips around specific cities. For instance, Ceuta, Morocco has a Baedekers that outlines the city, the places of interest to visit and the common customs and simple language phrases one is likely to encounter. Having been used quite extensively since 1827, Baedekers was a staple for any traveler during the time Urban took his trip.

Ocean Liners

To get to Europe, Urban took an ocean liner. Ocean liners are different from cruise ships from the standpoint that they were made to withstand some of the roughest conditions in the world, and still deliver the passengers safely. Urban’s ship, the S.S. Roma, ferried thousands of people across the Pond during the 27 years it was in use, although it began as a ship for the Italians to use in the Mediteranean. After World War 1, many shipmakers were waiting for large orders. When one came, Navigazione Generale, an Italian company, ordered 30,000 gross tons of trans-atlantic ocean liners. The very first one they built was called the Roma. This monstrous ship was 215.25 meters long, with a 25.20 meter beam. That means this ship was BIG. More than two football fields long, and weighing 48,502 tonnes, this all-steel hulled ship was enormous. With her four geared steam engines, the Roma was capable of 1700 passengers at a time. Her maximum speed of 20 knots was two knots faster than her sister ship, the Augustus. Even so, it would take this monstrosity about 6 days and 10 hours to complete a crossing going full speed. During Urban’s time, however, they moved slightly slower because their understanding of weather systems was not as advanced as ours today. They had to be able to go around massive storm systems, or they would risk being sunk. That was a very real risk, especially in the 1930’s. Even today, as far as technology has advanced, one trans-atlantic ship sinks every two weeks. That is an astounding statistic. That makes a trans-atlantic crossing, by ship, in 2012, more dangerous than shark attacks, bee stings and snake bites. As we go back to Urban’s time, a crossing becomes even more dangerous. Mechanical failure on ships was a too-frequent occurrence and skilled mechanics were rarely on passenger ships, their respective nations would generally pay handsomely for their work in the navy.

Research Project: Week #4

April 6, 2012 by

For the duration of my fourth week of research, I spent time looking at buildings constructed by James Windrim.  I found a catalog of all of these buildings and noticed an astonishing pattern.  Aside from the structures he created in Philadelphia (Philadelphia Masonic Temple 1868-73, The Academy of Natural Sciences 1868-72, The Kemble-Bergdoll Mansion 1885, The Smith Memorial Playground & Playhouse 1898-99,  The Smith Memorial Arch, The Native American Building 1900, The Commonwealth & Tile Trust Company Building 1901-06, The Lafayette Building 1907-08, and The Main Building of Thomas Jefferson Hospital in 1903) Windrim built 8 post offices across the country.  This list of post offices included the 1889-92 project in which Emlen Urban was the onsite supervisor.  From 1889-1891 Windrim built post offices across the nation.  While he decided to be consistent with the types of buildings he constructed in this time period, he was also extremely consistent with the building’s style as well.

1) Carson City, Nevada: 1888-91








2) Abingdon, Virginia: 1889-90









3)  Lancaster, Pennsylvania: 1889-92













4) Vicksburg, Mississippi: 1890-92









5) Scranton, Pennsylvania: 1890-94









6) Detroit, Michigan: 1890-97











7) Springfield, Montana: 1891-94













8) Sacramento, California: 1891-94













After seeing the beautiful Lancaster Municipal building for the first time, I immediately wondered what James Windrim’s other architectural pieces would look like.  After I researched his work from Philadelphia and elsewhere, I noticed that many if not all of his buildings had some sort of common denominator.  What I found so interesting about all of these pieces of art was that no matter where he went in the country, whether east or west coast, Windrim brought his own unique style to cities that hired him.  By doing this, Windrim’s work will always be so special because he didn’t let geography change the way he constructed his buildings.  With this being said, Windrim built all of these post offices nation wide in a very similar way.  By looking at the images of these structures, one notices that he uses arcs in every individual building, usually as the boarder for windows.  Like in the Lancaster Municipal Building, Windrim uses a Moorish or Venetian style of architecture.  In downtown Lancaster, the municipal building is the only building of this style, making it stand out much more than the others.  Perhaps Windrim realized this was a way for him to isolate his work from his competition.  These post offices are all pretty much asymmetrical and constantly have the roof of the structure coming up to a sharp points, giving them a sort of castle look.  What is most noticeable in all of these buildings is there is always one main section that is elevated higher than the rest, containing some substantial form of venustas making it eye grabbing to passerby.  For example, the Lancaster Municipal Building’s copper dome atop of a structure much higher than the rest.  The buildings differed a little on the exterior but were mostly comprised of red or white colored brick.  James Windrim was very consistent in the style of buildings he placed around the country, coining him his own specific appearance to be used over and over again.


Windrim & Urban Correspondence – Week Four

April 6, 2012 by

Objectives – To analyze the venustas of the Windrim designed Lancaster Municipal Building.

Summary – I visited the site of the Lancaster Municipal Building this week and took a few photographs with my phone. I noticed the intricate masonry work and the beautiful venustas on the front of the building. The key area that I focused on was the arched windows next to the main entrance way. The stonework is original and was put in during construction. I noticed the windows and the stone patterns immediately upon examining the building. There is the same white tile on the front of the building that we have seen consistently used by Urban on other buildings in Lancaster. It can be inferred that Urban was copying Windrim’s style with the white tile facade. These round arches also serve a functional purpose by bearing weight of the structure above it. The pillars they are built on are also bearing the weight of the building. Not only was this building built with utilitas in mind (first Post Office in Lancaster) but clearly Windrim and Urban felt it necessary to beautify the building. It must have really stood out amongst its neighboring buildings in the 1890’s because it continues to emanate power and respect to those who see it today. I made a sketch up of the windows and included a few of the digital pictures from my phone.

Photographs –   

This is my sketch up design of the arched windows flanking the main entrance.



A few pictures taken from across the street of the Municipal Building.



An up close photograph of the arched windows. Notice the detailed masonry work.


Urban’s Hand #3

April 6, 2012 by

Wohlsen Mansion – 537 W. Chestnut St. – 1893-1894. Some original detailing, such as the clustered porch columns and the porch railing, have been lost.


April 5, 2012 by

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

Week Four Research (3-D Model Of the I-Beam Ornament)

April 5, 2012 by

Week Four Research Project:


This week I was able to go to the preservation trust and view architect’s drawings of the Brunswick hotel.  This allowed me to understand I-beam placement and its effect on the the outside of a building


Originally when I arrived at the preservation trust my goal was to understand the generally structure, but as I started to look closer at the details for the ornaments and how they fit into the structure, I began to become very interested in the structure of the buildings but specially how Iron beams are placed to allow for optimum decoration on buildings

Main Points:

To understand this better and to be able to place the complexity of the I-beams use into my head I made a 3-D model to insure that this complex arrangement of structure and beauty was and will be preserved.  It may also prove useful to other class mates, this is because the piece that I choose to model is repeated throughout the building many times and has a consistent build to my 3-D model.


3-D Model Shows the front and how a simply pedestrian would view the building

3-D SIde View



Week Three – Windrim and Urban Correspondence

April 3, 2012 by

Week Three

This week I went to Martin Library specifically to the Archives and Special Collections to review the Sanborn maps of Lancaster. I used the map from 1891 and 1897 to give the letters of correspondence between Windrim and Urban some physical context. On the 1891 Sanborn map the Lancaster Municipal building was not existent but on the 1897 map it was present. The maps are not detailed enough to reveal the construction of sidewalks or other minute details. I was hoping to use the maps to discuss the various points of interest from Windrim’s letters. Details such as the addition of gas lines and the size and location of curbs were not clear on the maps. I focused on just these two maps because the following two maps after that are unrelated to Windrim and Urban’s professional relationship.  

I was able to locate a few photos during which time the building next to the Municipal Building was being constructed. In these photos one can see a few details of the Lancaster Municipal building including the sidewalks, the masonry details, and landscaping. On October 22nd 1889 Windrim pens a letter to Urban giving him permission to remove two trees from the sidewalk. These trees can be seen in the pictures along with the meticulous curbs that Windrim requested of Urban. “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.,” is an excerpt from the letter on the 22nd.


This is the 1891 Sanborn Map


This is the 1897 Sanborn Map


This is one the photos taken from the HABS site.Image



In this picture one can clearly see the trees out front and take notice of the curbing.


Last Week’s Blog

April 3, 2012 by

Having switched what I am doing for my final project I was somewhat behind and confused on how I should go about conducting my research. Two weeks ago I focused on the background of Emlen Urban and the Brunswick hotel. However, this made no progress in actually recreating and analyzing the primary architecture documents of the building. After meeting with Prof. Kourelis Friday, I found the path I want to go with my project and took this weekend to focus on analyzing the blueprints of the Brunswick. I took one of the main floors “typical floor with rooms” and analyzed this floor plan. After doing so I made my own re-creation of the floor plan to scale on an 9 by 12 piece of drawing paper.

From here I plan to use this re-creation to make a 3 dimensional model on google sketch up. Now that I have a hard copy of the document and the scale and size of building I will be able to proceed to the modeling step. Additionally, I will follow this same process and re-draw to scale the floor model of the basement, dining room, and any other floors that are different from this typical living/multiple room floor.