LANCASTER, Pa. – The W.W. Griest Building on Lancaster Penn Square celebrates its 90th birthday and LEADS is making sure it’s a golden one.
Lancaster’s Economic Action for Downtown’s Success (LEADS) has turned the iconic skyscraper into this year’s Lancaster Landmark Ornament, an eight-year tradition for the community organization that has been making downtown streets festive for the holidays since 2006.
“To help underwrite the cost, we initiated a unique fundraiser – Lancaster Landmark Ornaments. Created exclusively for LEADS,” said board president Marty Hulse. The three-dimensional ornaments are renditions of structures that have played a meaningful role in Lancaster’s historic and cultural life, crafted of solid brass plated in 24-karat gold, he said. New this year is a pack of eight cards and envelopes featuring the city’s Christmas tree, which the group and city workers have been cutting, transporting and decorating the past three years.
The 2015 offering was the tallest building in Lancaster until 2009 when the Marriott hotel was completed on the other side of Penn Square. At 14 stories, the building was completed in 1925 and originally held the offices of Pennsylvania Power and Light and was named for its president, William Walton Griest. Its architecture is Italian Renaissance Revival style and faced in granite, limestone and terra cotta and was designed by C. Emlen Urban. The 12th floor originally boasted a 300-seat auditorium with a frescoed ceiling of green and gold.
The ornament can be used as a tree or window ornament or displayed in the beautiful gold foil box it comes in along with a card telling its history.
“The past three years, we’ve spent close to $30,000 to improve the city’s holiday decorations,” Hulse said. Proceeds from the ornament go toward paying for that investment, he said.
Ornaments and cards can be purchased at Lancaster Galleries, 34 N. Water St.; BUiLDiNG CHARACTER, 342 N. Queen St., rear warehouses; Festoon at the Firehouse, 202 N. Duke St.; and the city Visitors Center on Penn Square. The ornaments and cards also are available Saturdays at Lancaster Central Market from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Each ornament is $20 and can be ordered online at www.LancasterLeads.org or by calling Building Character at 717-394-7201 to purchase with a major credit card. Shipping is $4.95 for the first ornament and $.95 for each additional ornament. The Christmas tree pack of cards are $20 each. Purchase the ornament and card pack for $36.
LEADS began in 2000 when a group of volunteers got together to create a grassroots effort to beautify downtown Lancaster. The goal has always been: make the city a more attractive place to visit, shop and live. Then, as now, LEADS is a completely volunteer organizations that operates solely from donations.