Lancaster City is indeed rich with history. After all, the City dates back to 1729. Many of historic houses and businesses are still in use. Some have been altered either in use or décor or both. The Historic Preservation Trust aims to preserve and protect Lancaster County’s rich historic and architectural character. One way is through the historic marker plaque program.
“Historic site marker plaques are being brought back by popular demand,” said Lisa Horst, president of the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. “Lancaster County has such a wonderful inventory of historic properties, and the ones that are significant should be singled out with a recognition plaque.”
Historic site marker plaques for homes, barns, bridges and other Lancaster County structures are once again available through the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. The 6-inch by 8-inch oval bronze plaques will be produced locally by Paul W. Zimmerman Foundries in Columbia. The first historic marker plaque -- in this series was installed last week at the home of Mimi Shapiro and Paul Englehart -- 239 North Concord Ave in Lancaster.
“We’re so happy that we are preserving in Lancaster,” said Shapiro.
Their two-story home was built in 1856. The exterior is a painted brick. The roofing is asphalt shingles. The house has been modernized on the inside. There is now electric and public utilities. There is a gas fireplace. There is a partial attic and full basement.
Shapiro and Englehart have made other changes inside as well. The kitchen had been in the back. They moved it to the front of the house where it now warmly welcomes guests. The living room was moved to the back of the house and a huge window installed looking out over their privately nestled back yard. A bathroom and laundry room was added downstairs.
Upstairs opens up to a sitting area with a gorgeous bookshelf that Englehart personally hand crafted. A deck was already in the back bedroom, which is now the master bedroom. The deck was finished and made sturdy by Englehart. A guest room was added. Various works of art adorn each room. The house could double as a gallery itself!
On a side note – to walk through their house is an artist’s delight. Englehart is a photographer. He also did most of the renovations himself. Shapiro is a mixed media artist and a poet. Her work has been exhibited not only here at home but also abroad. She has had her art exhibited in Germany, Jamaica, New Zealand and the UK.
There are specific criteria to qualify for the program. First and foremost, the structure must have been built during or prior to the World War II era. It must then meet one additional criterion. It must either be the site of a significant local, state or national event; be identified with a person or persons who significantly contributed to the development of the county, state or nation; be the work of a master builder, designer, or architect whose individual work has influenced the development of the county, state or nation; or finally, be building that is recognized for the quality of its architecture.
Each plaque candidate is also required to file an application. The application includes the history of the structure and indentifies the criteria it meets. The cost for each plaque is $190, and this includes a one-year membership in the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. The first Preservation Trust site markers were introduced in 1974, but the program has been inactive since the 1990’s.
Horst said the purpose of the program is twofold – to recognize historically and architecturally significant structures in Lancaster County and to encourage the preservation of the county’s rich history.
The Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County
The Historic Preservation Trust was founded in 1966. The trust has been directly involved in preserving important Lancaster County landmarks. The trust is a member-supported, 501(c)3 non-profit organization located in the historic Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House at 123 North Prince Street in downtown Lancaster. Visit www.hptrust.org for additional information.
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