LANCASTER IN STYLE, PART 6:

CLASSICAL REVIVAL, 1820-1850

The Merriam-Webster dictionary defines revival as “renewed attention or interest in something.”

Classical Revival is the first of many revival styles to appear on the architectural scene in Lancaster County following Germanic, Traditional English, Georgian and Federal styles.

Concurrent with the acceptance of Federal style as the American patriotic style, architects began to look elsewhere for design inspiration and soon became fascinated with ancient Greek and Roman architecture.

The round columns with the traditional Doric, Ionic and Corinthian capitals were reinvented in scale and detail for use on private homes and public buildings.



Classical Revival examples in Lancaster County during the time period of 1820-1850 are scarce but very distinctive; most examples are found in New England and Philadelphia.

The Grubb Mansion, which houses the Lancaster Museum of Art on the edge of the city’s Musser Park, is a great example of domestic Classical Revival architecture. Constructed in 1846 for Clement Bates Grubb, the three-story red brick mansion incorporates Greek columns and pediment details in the entrance portico, and blends Federal-style details with the use of two-toned shutters and six-over-six window panes.

Abraham N Cassel Mansion c1852 Classical Revival Marietta (5).JPG

The Abraham N. Cassel Mansion in Marietta is an example of adaptive Classical Revival architecture. Constructed in 1852, the two-story structure, using imported brick from England, was adapted to the present Classical Revival appearance in 1938. It has paired two-story columns and a second-floor walk-out balcony — beneath the ornate pediment and compass window — to create an imposing impression along Market Street.

The third-floor windows are incorporated into the tall white cornice board.

Following his return to Paradise Township after honeymooning in the Hudson River Valley in 1840, the Rev. Dr. John Leaman commissioned the construction of Summer Hill, a white stucco mansion in the Classical Revival style. Patterned after what he saw in New York, the prominent, two-story Doric columns beneath the massive pediment command much attention atop the hill along Route 30. The elaborate Palladian window in the “stepped” coffers on the gable end is unique in Lancaster County.

John Leaman Mansion 1840 Paradise Township Classical Revival - Doric columns-Palladian window-stepped coffers on gable  (5).JPG

Summer Hill, a white stucco mansion on Lincoln Highway East, near Vintage, was commissioned by the Rev. Dr. John Leaman in 1840. It’s an example of Classical Revival style, with Doric columns and an elaborate Palladian window in the “stepped” coffers on the gable end.

It’s located at 3387 Lincoln Highway East near the village of Vintage.

The Abraham N. Cassel Mansion in Marietta is an example of adaptive Classical Revival architecture. Constructed in 1852, the two-story structure using imported brick from England was adapted to the present Classical Revival appearance in 1938. The paired two-story columns and second -floor walk-out balcony — beneath the ornate pediment and compass window — create an imposing impression along Market Street.

Lancaster County Courthouase c1852 Classical Revival -Roman - Samuel Sloan-Corinthian columns architect (2).JPG

The Lancaster County Courthouse, constructed in 1852 incorporates Classical Roman Revival design elements including Corinthian columns. Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan was commissioned to design the structure.

Although the Classical Revival style enjoyed a relatively short timeline of 30 years, elements of the style continue to appear throughout the East Coast in the form of neo-traditional architecture of new planned communities.

Are there examples of Classical Revival public structures in Lancaster County?

Yes. The Lancaster County Courthouse constructed in 1852 incorporates classical Roman revival design elements. Philadelphia architect Samuel Sloan was commissioned to design the structure.

What is a compass window?

A compass window or keystone window is round and incorporates what appear to be the points on a compass; north, east, south and west.

What is a Palladian window?

It is a three-part window with the center window being taller and arched and the two adjacent windows being shorter and square-topped. Named after 16th-century Italian architect Andrea Palladio.

This column is contributed by Gregory J. Scott, FAIA, a local architect with more than four decades of national experience in innovation and design. He is a member of the American Institute of Architects’ College of Fellows. Email GScott@rlps.com. Scott's column runs in LNP | LancasterOnline on the second Thursday of each month.