Then & Now: 38 W. King Street home to Lancaster’s second-oldest public clock

Today 38 West King Street is home to Max’s Eaterya great place to get a good burger, cheesy tots, and an adult milkshake—but in 1875, it housed H.Z. Rhoads & Brothers. They were importers who dealt in diamonds, watches, jewelry, bronze, musical boxes, and silverware.

2020 vs. 1875



Henry Zahm Rhoads

Born July 16, 1840, Henry Zahm Rhoads was educated in the public schools of Lancaster. He first tried his hand at daguerreotyping, which is a type of early photographic process that employed an iodine-sensitize silver plate and mercury vapor to create an image.

After that, Rhoads became an apprentice in the jewelry business of Zahm & Jackson. Next, he served an apprenticeship with Theodore Wolf to perfect himself in watchmaking skills. Eventually, Rhoads found himself in Virginia working as a journeyman jeweler and watchmaker until the Civil War broke out when he returned to Lancaster.

Henry Zahm Rhoads
Henry Zahm Rhoads

On October 12, 1861, Rhoads began a jewelry business on the north side of West King Street, in partnership with C. J. Gillespie. But just nine months later, Rhoads bought out Mr. Gillespie’s interest.

Rhoads next venture came in 1868 when in partnership with his brother, Charles, he bought the old “Lamb Hotel” on the south side of West King Street. The following year, in 1869, Rhoads and his brother moved across the street into the Lamb Hotel property, which they had converted into a new store.


Lancaster’s Second Oldest Clock

According to the 1903 Biographical Annals of Lancaster County, it was here that Rhoads erected the first public clock (after the Lancaster City courthouse’s).

38 West King Street at night.
38 West King Street at night in 2019 and home to Lancaster’s second-oldest public clock?

Rhoads continued his jewelry business at the location until 1896 when he retired. By 1903, the property was now occupied by Metzger & Haughman, who were dry-goods merchants.

John H. Troup Music House

The second most famous resident of the building—after Max’s Eatery, which currently resides there—was the John H. Troup Music House. It was run by the family of “Route 66” songwriter and “Emergency” actor Bobby Troup.

Troup as Dr. Joe Early on 1970s television show, Emergency! (with wife Julie London, in the role of nurse Dixie McCall)

Troup lived in Lancaster a short time before heading to California for a life in show business. In December 1924, the local Troup store carried Brunswick Christmas records for 75 cents apiece, and in 1928 you could buy an Ampico Symphonique baby grand piano at Troup’s for $1,300.


If you are hungry, consider grabbing a bite to eat via the Max’s Eatery walk-up window or delivery. Click here for more information.



5 thoughts on “Then & Now: 38 W. King Street home to Lancaster’s second-oldest public clock

    1. Thanks! It took a LOT of work, but I have all the bugs worked out for when you are ready to use it.

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