civic commercial religious social and architectural history
A walk in downtown Lancaster is a unique experience with historic buildings of different architectural styles and periods and three centuries of Lancaster’s civic, commercial, religious, social and architectural history. A leisurely walk can be accomplished in less than an hour. Lancaster is one of America’s most successful smaller cities and among the largest National Register districts — with over 14,000 NR listed historic buildings:
West King an urban design, architectural, preservation, and development effort is underway to help improve the West King Street district between Prince and Mulberry Streets; information about the buildings and properties is being researched and will be used to create plans and illustrate opportunities for rebuilding and revitalizing the economic, cultural, and social value of these properties and the neighborhood.
Penn Square is Lancaster’s geographic, commercial and civic hub. The Soldiers and Sailors Monument honors those who fought in the Civil War. Your walk begins at the northwest corner of Penn Square and views of an 18th Century city hall, the 19th Century market house and a 20th Century skyscraper.
South Queen Street one block south of the square, there are buildings with connections to the American Revolution and the abolition of slavery, including a Georgian townhouse, a Federal mansion and buildings linked to the Underground Railroad.
Old Town is one of the Lancaster’s Colonial era neighborhoods. A 1970s urban renewal plan was halted in favor of historic preservation efforts. Highlights in this neighborhood include a converted stone stable, the home of Lancaster’s premier portrait painter, and a Classical Revival mansion.
East Orange Street is part of the City’s original Historic District, established in 1967; this tree-lined street boasts an Italianate villa and a church cemetery established in 1744.
North Queen Street The downtown area has been a commercial center for nearly three centuries given Lancaster’s strategic position at a transportation crossroads. The city’s role as a retail center grew rapidly with the Industrial Revolution, with new building materials, construction methods and architectural styles reflected in its storefronts.
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