History


The city of Lancaster has been cultivating a rich history since it was first settled by German immigrants in 1709. From 1799 to 1812 Lancaster was the capital city of Pennsylvania. Known for being part of a thriving farming area, Downtown Lancaster has retained all of the charm of a “small town” while moving progressively into the future by creating a vibrant local artist and merchant community. On this page we will be sharing various facts about the history of Lancaster and the 300 Block!

  • You know it as a fabulous place to get one-of-a-kind jewelry and high end accessories, but j.a. sharp Custom Jewelers is located in a very historically important building in Lancaster. In December of 1893 the three-story brick residence at 322 N. Queen St., Lancaster the Lancaster General Hospital first begins serving the needs of our community. It grew so quickly that they had to relocate to a larger residency on Lime St. after only 3 years. The next time that you stroll down the 300 block, just imagine heading there to have your illness treated effectively or your baby delivered safely. What a wonderful development in the life of those early Lancaster residents that must have been!
  • In 1872, at the corner of North Queen St. and West Walnut St. the Norther Lancaster Market was constructed. If this building were still standing today it would be the oldest Victorian era market-house. Sadly the architecture was torn down in 1958. Today the spot is occupied by the Lebzelters service station.
  • The building located at 323 and 325 N. Queen St was built by one of Lancaster City’s finest architects; C. Emlen Urban. Urban designed many prominent public buildings and beautiful private homes around Lancaster during his 45 year career here. This building was originally designed to house a candy factory as well as the offices for another local business. It was originally known as the Keppel Wholesale Confectionary Building.
  • The building and parking lot currently occupied by the popular store Building Character also holds history of importance to the area. The circa 1808 former house at 342-344 North Queen Street, used as an inn and hotel, was acquired in 1919 by the Lancaster Storage Company for use as offices. The existing surface parking lot that extends west to North Market Street once contained other Lancaster Storage Company structures, including a six-story brick building and a low storage facility with a sloping roof. This row of one- story garages was spared from demolition in 2002. These garages are accessed through an arched passageway from the Federal period building facing North Queen Street; the same archway that you pass through to enter Building Character today!