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College Park

Franklin and Marshall's Old Main (MWS)

Northwest Quadrant

College Park is named for its two most prominent landmarks, Franklin and Marshall College and Buchanan Park.

College Park contains an eclectic pattern of building types and styles, ranging from large scale industrial complexes (Hamilton Watch) to single family residences. The focal points of the neighborhood are Franklin and Marshall College and Buchanan Park. See What's Here and What's New!

The College Park area was largely undeveloped prior to the turn of this century. Franklin and Marshall College is the only development shown on Bridgen's 1864 Atlas and Roe and Colby's 1874 city map. St. Joseph's Catholic Hospital (now Lancaster Regional Medical Center) and the Keystone Watch Company (later Hamilton Watch) appear for the first time on the Board of Trade's 1887 map, as does a planned street grid, as indicated by dashed lines. The 1899 Atlas shows a number of residences in the block bounded by West End, College, Columbia and Marietta Avenues, as well as Bethany Presbyterian Chapel . The city reservoir is also indicated within present day Buchanan Park, although the street grid remained largely undeveloped. The remainder of the area developed rapidly after 1900 and was substantially built up by the mid-1950s.

The growth of this area of the city, which largely occurred after 1900, is the product of several factors: 1) the continued westward expansion of the city; 2) residential development spurred by Hamilton Watch, Franklin and Marshall College and St. Joseph Hospital; 3) the growth of Marietta Avenue westward to the Little Conestoga Creek as the community's "status" neighborhood after c. 1890; and 4) the influence of new trolley lines in the period from circa 1895 through 1910 and the automobile afterwards.

The character of College Park is diverse, due in part to the juxtaposition of industrial, educational, religious, health care and residential uses. The diversity of early twentieth century architectural styles, which include many revivals of earlier periods, adds to the rich architectural pattern of the area.

College Park visually divides into several sub-areas: Franklin and Marshall College/Buchanan Park, the Buchanan Avenue sub-area, St. Joseph's Hospital, the Marietta Avenue corridor, the Hamilton Watch sub-area, the Columbia Avenue corridor, School Lane Hills and the College View neighborhood.

The oldest buildings at Franklin and Marshall College, Old Main, Goethean and Diagnothian Halls, are early examples of the Gothic styles that became popular for college designs due to the popularity of Russell Sturgis' Farnham Hall (1867) at Yale. All three are constructed of Lancaster brick and sandstone. Old Main, the first one to be built, was designed by the Baltimore firm of Dixon Balbirnie and Dixon. The builder was Patrick Smith. Goethean, the first such society named for Goethe in the U.S., and Diagnothian Hall housed the two student literary societies and were distinguished from most similar groups in having their own buildings. Originally connected with the Theological Seminary in York and Mercersburg, they moved to Franklin and Marshall with the Seminary. Probably also designed by Dixon, Balbirnie and Dixon, the builder may have been John H. Evans who worked on the Seminary. Although Diagnothian and Goethean lost their crenelations at unknown dates, these buildings remain little changed on the exterior. They are listed on the National Register.

Buchanan Park is the principal open space within College Park. A substantial open area with playgrounds and ball fields, the park contained two large standpipes and the remnants of a reservoir, constructed as part of the city's water system in the late 1800s and early 1900s. The standpipes, referred to by local residents as "George and Martha," were prominent visual landmarks of the city and College Park.

The Buchanan Avenue sub-area is predominantly residential, with a mixture of single-family dwellings and good-quality row houses and paired houses, this area has the following general qualities giving it a general feeling of unity: two- and three-story height of houses, brick walls - red brick, tapestry brick and some gold-beige brick - numerous front porches that, in general, seem to be original, some garages and numerous small front yards. Historically and visually, College Avenue is the logical eastern boundary of this sub-area. The western boundary, the western city line, is somewhat artificial since the architecture of the area continues westward into Lancaster Township.

Most of the residences in the Buchanan Avenue sub-area were built in the early 1900s. For example, building permits prove that most of the houses date from 1921 to 1926. Several houses along College Avenue date from 1910 and 1911.

The red brick house at the northwest corner of College Avenue and West Walnut is, at least in part, the farmhouse from the late 1800s that once belonged to Jacob Weh who sold much of the land in this immediate vicinity. The Georgian Revival style Long Home was built in 1905 with money from the joint bequests of Judge Henry Long and his daughter, Catherine Haldeman Long, as a home for aged women.

The St. Joseph's Hospital complex, largely covering the block bounded by West Walnut Street and West End, Marietta and College Avenues, is a visually prominent feature of the area. The site is architecturally inconsistent, and therefore a major intrusion into, the large expanse of the City of Lancaster eligible for the National Register. The hospital has influenced the character of adjoining blocks, as residences have been retained and adapted for use as medical and professional offices, or demolished.

Two major street corridors, Marietta Avenue and Columbia Avenue, cross College Park. The residences along these corridors are typically somewhat larger and grander than those within the interior of the area and, coupled with the width of the streets, define them as distinctive elements of College Park.

The Hamilton Watch sub-area is generally bounded by Marietta, Columbia and College Avenues and the western city boundary. The origins of Hamilton Watch Company may be traced to the establishment of the Adams and Perry Watch Company of Lancaster on June 10, 1878. On October 18, 1891, the Hamilton Watch Company was organized and shortly thereafter purchased the building of the then defunct successor company to Adams and Perry.

In addition to being an important industry in the community's economic history, the present building represents one of the most important industrial structures extant in Lancaster County. Through its evolutionary development, the building shows several periods and styles of architecture. The complex is listed individually on the National Register. The Engineering Lab for Hamilton Watch, located across Wheatland Avenue from the complex, was constructed in the mid-1900s. The building contributes to the complex but was not included on the National Register nomination.

The remainder of the Hamilton Watch area includes residences in the blocks immediately east and north of the factory, which were constructed in the 1890s and early 1900s.

A small portion of School Lane Hills, a prestigious suburban neighborhood, extends into College Park. School Lane Hills was developed in the late 1800s and early 1900s, first as a popular trolley suburb, and later as an automobile suburb. The character of the area is defined by substantial, architecturally refined residences on large lots with extensive landscaping.

College View is located to the northwest of the Franklin and Marshall College/Buchanan Park sub-area and is bounded by Buchanan and Race Avenues and the city boundary. The area contains modest Revival style houses built circa 1920 through 1950 as single residences or duplexes. Architectural styles include Tudor, Georgian, Colonial and Spanish Colonial Revivals and American Four Square. Basic building forms repeat throughout the blocks, some houses being identical, others repeating in form with varied details. Broad, tree-lined State Street is an important visual element of the neighborhood.

This area of Lancaster was influenced by the growing suburban movement occurring throughout the United States during this period. The city boundary does not reflect the limits of the area, as it extends westward into Lancaster Township.

Lancaster City Living – Lancaster PA