Liberty Bond House: the miniature version of the colonial era Penn Square courthouse hiding in Buchanan Park


In 1918, students at Stevens High School (also known as Girls High School, Stevens Elementary School, and now the Residences at Stevens School) built this replica of the colonial-era courthouse that once graced the center of Penn Square between 1787 and 1853.

Known as the Liberty Bond House, it was placed in Penn Square in front of the Watt & Shand building. During World War I and World War II, volunteers sold Liberty Bonds from the building. Every time a bond was sold, they rang a bell which happened to be the original bell from the second Courthouse.

The Bond House in the southeast corner of Penn Square in front of the Watt & Shand building.
The Bond House in the southeast corner of Penn Square in front of the Watt & Shand building.

Shortly after each war ended, the Bond House was moved to its current location in Buchanan Park next to Franklin and Marshall College in the shadow of Gallows Hill.

Over the years, the building has been used as storage for playground and park equipment. When I peeked inside during a recent visit, stage risers were being stored there.

After years of weather and lack of attention, the building fell into disrepair. In 2013, Lancaster’s Loyalty Day Committee led a restoration effort to restore the structure as close to the original as possible.


Planning Your Visit

You can visit the Liberty Bond House today in Buchanan Park near Race Avenue side. Here’s the address: 515 Race Ave, Lancaster, PA 17603.

Other Things to See

While you are at Buchanan Park, take a few minutes to visit Gallows Hill. It’s hard to miss as it’s the high point in the city.

Until 1834 executions were public events, and 15 Lancastrians, including one woman, greeted eternity at the end of the rope in front of a crowd. It was common for these events to turn into an impromptu holiday, drawing thousands of spectators.

In most towns, the gallows were erected at the highest point. For Lancaster, that was a 438-foot high area on the western edge of the city called Gallows Hill. Click here to learn more about Gallows Hill and public execution in Lancaster.


The Original Penn Square Courthouse

Between 1739 and 1853, Penn Square had a courthouse that bore witness to great moments in American history. Click here to learn more about Lancaster’s old Courthouse that inspired this replica.



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