And So Saturday Is ‘Lancaster History Day,’ Mayor Gray Proclaims


BUiLDiNG CHARACTER’s warehouses featured during Saturday’s walking tour


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Then & Now: The Lancaster Storage Co. storefront in the 1950s and today.

DOWNTOWN LANCASTER, Pa. – Ever look at the city’s historic buildings and wonder what used to be?

Get a first-hand lesson during the Lancaster Walk & Talk Tour from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 18.

In fact, Mayor Rick Gray proclaims Saturday “Lancaster History Day” in recognition of the 20 sites on the Historic Lancaster Walk & Talk Tour. The historic business and industry sites have adaptive re-use in common. Constructed in the 18th and 19th centuries, the sites have been preserved and restored for 21st century purposes – the city’s largest shopping destinations, offices, residences, restaurants and hotels.

“Lancaster’s history and cultural heritage are inextricably linked to its architecture,” says Gray in the proclamation. “Our movement to save historic structures and celebrate their importance with the Historic Walk & Talk Tour demonstrates our willingness to save historic buildings and restore them for adaptive reuses.”

It has been proven time and time again that historic preservation encourages neighborhood revitalization, economic development and heritage tourism.

The Historic Lancaster Walk & Talk Tour is a joint education initiative of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County,  

In addition to adaptive re-use, another theme of the tour is how the railroads charted the course for Downtown Lancaster’s development in the 1700s and 1800s. Much of the three-mile long tour is along the corridor from where the railroad station once stood, at the corner Queen and Chestnut streets, northwest along where trains used to run toward where Franklin & Marshall College is today.

Sites on the tour include:

  • Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House (1787)
  • H. Doer Tobacco Warehouse (1886),
  • Hirsh & Brother Tobacco Company Warehouse (1869-1874)
  • Fulton Theatre (1852)
  • Lancaster Central Market (1889)
  • Old City Hall (c. 1795-1798)
  • Brunswick Hotel site (1915-1920)
  • Pennsylvania Railroad Station site (1834)
  • Lancaster Storage Company Garages (c. 1808-09; storefront c. 1920), now BUiLDiNG CHARACTER (est. 2007)
  • High Welding Company (c. 1820)
  • S. R. Moss Cigar Factory (1896; rebuilt 1907)
  • Swisher & Buckwalter Tobacco Warehouses (c. late 800’s to early 1900’s)
  • G. Falk & Bro. and A. S. Rosenbaum Tobacco Warehouse (1881)
  • John DeHaven Tobacco Company Warehouse (c. 1876)
  • Edison Electric Illuminating Company (c. 1886 and 1892)
  • Robison, Blair and Company Factory (c. 1906)
  • Wacker Brewing Company (c. 1799)
  • Stevens High School (c. 1904-1906) and
  • The Walter Schnader Tobacco Warehouse (c. 1900).
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BUiLDiNG CHARACTER’s warehouses-turned-retail store (c. 2008) were renovated in 2007, including the replacement of all the exterior sliding doors recreated to match the originals.

In addition to a wealth of history on the tour and docents dressed in 19th century attire, there will be ice cream, candy and spirits. Yuengling’s Ice Cream will be served as well as Miesse Candies and The Hershey Company’s new “Lancaster” soft caramel creme candies. Season’s Olive Oil and Vinegar Taproom will serve samplings. The tasting rooms will be open at Thistle Finch Distillery and the Wacker Brewing Company.

Artist Rebecca Lee also will demonstrate her work on the tour, and artwork from Penn-Mar will be displayed. Many of Penn-Mar’s larger pieces have had upwards of 85 people take part in their creation.

Tickets for the tour are $18 for members of the Historic Preservation Trust, $20 for non-members and $10 for children under the age of 12. Blocks of five tickets may be purchased for $75. Ticket sales will be at 123 N. Prince St. (Tour Stop #1). The self-guided tour begins at 10 am and ends at 3 pm. www.hptrust.org for additional information.

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BUiLDiNG CHARACTER’s interior has been updated with modern conveniences such as CFL hanging lights, heating and air-conditioning.

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No First Friday in Lancaster is complete without a visit to BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, Downtown’s largest retail destination at 10,000 square feet filled with vintage, recycled and handmade treasures.

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