Why Restore Historic Buildings in Lancaster, PA?
Lancaster County dates to 1729, when it was created from Chester County, our neighboring county to the east. The first settlements began in 1710, and Lancaster City was laid out in 1734, finally becoming a city in 1818.
Lancaster has a rich history in America’s early days: it served as the capital of the United States for one day (September 27, 1777), and was also the site of the first paved road (Philadelphia and Lancaster Turnpike, first paved in 1795).
Due to our long, rich history, it shouldn’t be surprising that there are a large number of historic buildings in Lancaster County, PA. According to the Lancaster County Preservation Trust, there are over 10,000 historic properties in our county. From barns in the countryside to warehouses in downtown Lancaster, and thousands of historic homes throughout the county, these historic treasures need to be preserved or saved.
Types of Historic Restoration Projects
There are several ways to go about saving commercial and residential historic buildings. Each of these methods can vary in size, scope, expense, and purpose. When done right, however, a historic building can be saved from demolition and continue to enrich the community for years to come.
- Preservation – Historic preservation keeps the purpose and historic character of a building intact. So, a historic home is preserved and remains a residence. When possible, historic or architectural features are retained and preserved.
- Restoration – Historic restoration means transforming a historic building back to a specific date and time setting. Design, materials, and colors are carefully researched and recreated to match the time period. A good example is Wheatland, the home of President James Buchanan, right off Marietta Avenue on the west side of Lancaster City.
- Reconstruction – With a historic reconstruction project, a lost building is painstakingly rebuilt using authentic materials and techniques. This is most often done for educational reasons, like with several of the buildings at the Ephrata Cloister in Ephrata, PA.
- Adaptive Reuse – Also known as rehabilitation, this type of project allows for alterations to a building’s use or purpose while keeping its historic charm and character. This is seen when a developer turns a factory or warehouse into apartments, or turning a historic home into offices.
Historic Preservation Groups in Lancaster County
Lancaster County Community Foundation
The Lancaster County Community Foundation is a non-profit organization that preserves and promotes the history of Lancaster County. This is the organization that maintains Wheatland and the Thaddeus Stevens & Lydia Hamilton Smith historic site.
Lancaster County Preservation Trust
The Lancaster County Preservation Trust, founded in 1966, identifies and supports preservation efforts throughout the county. Through the C. Emlen Urban awards, the Trust annually recognizes the people and projects that have saved a piece of the community’s history.
Columbia Historic Preservation Society
The Columbia Historic Preservation Society is dedicated to telling the story of Columbia, a small town on the eastern bank of the Susquehanna in western Lancaster County.
Our Work in Preserving History
Restoration of 1750’s Meeting House (Bainbridge, PA)
In the 1750’s, the Old Order River Brethren built this meeting house in what is now Bainbridge. A farmhouse was built nearby in 1868. Over time, the meeting house fell into disrepair and was not properly maintained.
Kreider & Diller was brought in to stabilize the existing stone and brick walls of the meeting house, restore the interior, and add a sunroom addition to connect the meeting house to the farm house.
This project received the 2005 C. Emlen Urban Preservation Award for Adaptive Re-Use by the Lancaster County Preservation Trust.
Manos Drug House
An old, historic house on South Prince Street had fallen on rough times, at one point becoming a crack house. Manos House purchased the blight of a building and hired Kreider & Diller to renovate the building. We were able to keep many of the intricate historical features that you can see on the front of the building, while converting the interior and a 500-square-foot addition into offices.
This project received the 2000 C. Emlen Urban Preservation Award for Adaptive Re-Use by the Lancaster County Preservation Trust.
Northgate Condos (Lancaster, PA)
An old tobacco warehouse on North Christian Street in Lancaster was saved from being torn down. Instead, Kreider & Diller converted the 3-story property into 6 luxuary condos. Each condo enjoys breathtaking views of the city, gorgeous exposed beams and brick, and modern conveniences like elevators, indoor parking, and a sprinkler system.
Nissley Vineyards (Bainbridge, PA)
A grain mill built in 1797 was restored in 2004 by Kreider & Diller and converted into corporate offices for Nissely Winery. Inside, the building retains the rugged timbers and beautiful stonework, along with the modern conveniences needed to run a winery.
This project received the 2004 C. Emlen Urban Preservation Award for Adaptive Re-Use by the Lancaster County Preservation Trust.
Contact Us to Save Your Historic Building
Are you looking to save a historic building near Lancaster, PA? Contact Kreider and Diller Builders. We have decades of experience restoring and adapting historic structures, giving them a renewed purpose and a new lease on life. Call our office at 717-393-7273 or send us a message to start the conversation of how we can work together to save history.