Pop Quiz: Tallest buildings in Lancaster

Pop Quiz

How well do you know Lancaster City’s skyline? Test your knowledge with this four question quiz.

Question 1: What is the tallest building in the City of Lancaster?

Easy, right?


Answer: Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square*.

Completed in 2009, the Lancaster Marriott has an estimated height of 224.22 feet, claiming the mantel of the tallest building not just in the city of Lancaster but also in the county.

However, good luck getting an official number. Its size varies depending on the source, with some going as small as “slightly shorter than 210 feet.” In addition, the Lancaster Marriott has 19 stories, although there is no numbered 13th floor, so technically it’s only 18.

Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.
Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square.

Side Note. If Willow Valley’s proposed downtown Lancaster construction project receives final approval and is completed, it will take the crown of tallest buildings. The 244-foot-high Willow Valley Mosaic building would surpass the 19-floor Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square a block away by 34 feet. However, Vine Street is 27 feet lower than Penn Square, lessening the new structure’s impact on the city skyline.

Artist rendering of the proposed Willow Valley Mosaic building. 

Question 2: What is the second tallest building in Lancaster?

Pretty easy again.


Answer: W.W. Griest Building at 8 North Queen Street.

Designed by famed Lancaster architect C. Emlen Urban, the Griest Building was built 1924-1925 with a height of 192 feet. It is 14 actual stories tall without skipping any numbered floors. Each floor measures 66 feet by 55 feet for a total of 3,600 square feet per floor. Here’s a fun fact, the 12th floor, now office space, once housed a 300-seat auditorium with a green and gold frescoed ceiling. In 1976, a 53-foot tall tower was added to the top of the building.

W.W. Griest Building
W.W. Griest Building.

While it is currently the second tallest building in Lancaster, it held the top spot beginning in 1925 until the Lancaster Marriott was completed in 2009.

Question 3: What was the tallest building in Lancaster in 1794?



Answer: Holy Trinity Lutheran Church at 31 South Duke Street.

Not only was Holy Trinity Lutheran Church Lancaster’s tallest structure in 1794 with a new bell tower and 195-foot steeple, but it was also the tallest building west of Philadelphia. Period.

Holy Trinity Lutheran Church

Bonus Question: In addition to being the tallest Colonial era structure in Lancaster, Holy Trinity Lutheran Church had the largest one of these in the entire country in 1771?


Answer: Pipe Organ.

In 1771, David Tannenberg built the largest pipe organ in the country for Holy Trinity Lutheran Church. For those unfamiliar with Tannenberg. He was a Moravian organ builder who emigrated to Pennsylvania. He is cited as the most important American organ-builder of his time. Many of his organs are still in use today.

The pipe organ at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.
The pipe organ at Holy Trinity Lutheran Church.

Today, the largest pipe organ in the United States, based on number of pipes, is the Boardwalk Hall Auditorium Organ in Atlantic City, New Jersey, built by the Midmer-Losh Organ Company between 1929 and 1932.

Finally, here’s the Star Wars Main Theme played on the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church organ in 2017. Enjoy!

Tallest Buildings in Lancaster

Here’s a cross referenced listed between Emporis and LancasterOnline of the tallest buildings in Lancaster. Building heights seem to vary according to source.

  1. Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square at 224 feet built in 2009.
  2. Griest Building at 192 feet built in 1925.
  3. Lancaster General Hospital at 145 feet.
  4. Lancaster Marriott at Penn Square East Tower at 142 feet built in 2019.
  5. Lancaster House North Apartments at 120 feet built in 1978
  6. Stevens House Condominium at 118 feet built in 1965
  7. Holiday Inn Lancaster at 118 feet built in 1970.
  8. Ruoff Tower at 112 feet built in 1979.
  9. Frederick Building at 106 feet built in 2018.
  10. Conestoga View at 106 feet.
  11. Church Street Towers at 102 feet built in 1968.


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