Historic to Modern Architecture in Lancaster City
As one of the oldest inland cities in the United States of America, Lancaster plays an important role in the history of Pennsylvania and the birth of our nation. Serving as Pennsylvania’s capital from 1799 to 1812, much of Lancaster’s history still exists in the city as it’s known today. While walking down the streets of Lancaster City, history can be seen by the naked eye everywhere you look—especially in the architecture, most of which has been preserved, reflecting their original conditions.
During their restoration, many of these buildings have gone through periods of change, including modernization. Resident favorites—such as The Fulton Opera House, Griest Building, or The Keppel Building—are historical pieces of the city which have been given modern makeovers during recent years. Are you familiar with the rich history behind these architectural sites?
The Fulton Opera House is an Italianate-style Victorian building which was completed in 1852. Originally called Fulton Hall, this national treasure located on North Prince Street has always served as the home to the performing arts, social gatherings, and civic affairs for over 150 years. In 1873, the hall was converted to a grand theatre. A historic landmark turned contemporary theatre, The Fulton Opera House is one of only eight theatres in the United States recognized as a National Historic Landmark.
Since 1925, and at 14 stories, the W.W. Griest Building has served as a testament to the unique cultural facets of the early 20th century. Named in honor of William Walton Griest (elected Republican to the 61st United States Congress and ten succeeding Congresses) and designed by Cassius Emlen Urban (renowned Lancaster architect), the W.W. Griest Building is a visually prominent signature of Lancaster’s historical past—and growing future.
Since its conception in 1913, The Keppel Building on North Queen Street has served many functions, from a cigar manufacturer to a renowned Lancaster County chocolatier. The Keppel Building has kept its historical integrity through it all. Dressed in gorgeous Beaux-Arts motifs, The Keppel Building offers unique modern loft-style apartments in the heart of downtown Lancaster in today’s world.