Join me on Friday, November 5, 2021, at the beautiful 1787 Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House in downtown Lancaster from 5 to 9 pm for a First Friday Open House with the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County and the Echo Valley Art Group. This free event includes a pop-up art show, a self-guided tour of the house, and an Uncharted Lancaster mini-adventure with prizes. Individually packaged snacks, hot cider, and a campfire will be available in the garden.
This is an exciting opportunity to explore inside this gorgeous building (located at 123 N. Prince Street, Lancaster) which has been closed to the public for the past 18 months due to COVID-19. Trust board members will be on hand to talk about historic preservation and the structure.
Brief History of the Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House
The building was the home of Andrew Ellicott, the first U.S. Surveyor General who famously helped map the western territories and the District of Columbia. It was in this house that Ellicott, commissioned by U. S. President Thomas Jefferson, taught Meriwether Lewis surveying techniques for the Lewis & Clark Expedition of western territories. Ellicott occupied the house from 1801 until he died in 1813.
The home is a beautiful example of early American architecture, built by Gottlieb Sehner and beautifully renovated by the Louise Steinman von Hess Foundation from 1978-1981. The Sehner family also helped to build Lancaster’s Masonic Hall in 1795 and the Fulton Opera House in 1852. Click here for a more detailed history of the house.
Echo Valley Art Group
The Echo Valley Art Group will be holding a pop-up art show inside the Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House. Works of art from the following EVAG members will be on display and available for purchase: Scott Cantrell, Ann DeLaurentis, Carol Toner Shane, Richard Ressel, Susan Gottlieb, Claire Giblin, and Rob Evans.
The Echo Valley Art Group, established in 1945, is an organization limited to 25 professional artists of a broad range of ages and styles, working and creating in the Lancaster County area. Membership is by invitation, with artist selection based on their exhibition history, career development, participation in the arts community, and what they add to the group. EVAG meets monthly to discuss their work and current art events and to organize their annual exhibit of new work and other shows. They hold a yearly auction of original art, with the intent of sharing their artwork with their community and collectors and raising funds to support the arts in Lancaster.
Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County
The Trust was established in 1966 to help “stem the rapid destruction of historic properties in Lancaster County.” Through the years, the Trust has been active in preserving many historic properties in Lancaster County that contribute to their respective communities as unique places for people to live, work, and play.
Their equation for success has been working for over 50 years. Look around you and know that our advocacy and direct action have resulted in saving hundreds of historic structures and other sites throughout the county. The flip side is that not everything can and should be saved. The Trust continually faces this delicate balance and works closely with all parties involved to reach an equitable decision for all. Sadly, it sometimes takes an irreplaceable loss to a community before preservation moves higher on the priority list.
Architectural Tour Books For Sale
The Trust will be selling several of their local architectural tour books and prints, including the 2004 Historic Conestoga Township Architectural Tour, 2010 Lancaster City Architecture by C. Emlen Urban, and the 2019 Columbia Architectural Tour booklets for only $15.
Uncharted Lancaster Mini-Adventure
I will be onsite, so come say hi and pick up some free swag. Be sure to grab a scavenger hunt paper (or download one here…coming soon) because I’ll have an exclusive one-night-only adventure that will have you exploring the building and nearby area for prizes.
In addition, I will have some old reproduction maps of downtown Lancaster for you to examine plus photographs and diagrams of the nearby petroglyphs of Safe Harbor—the oldest man-made artifacts in the region—on display.
Don’t miss it! I hope to see you there!
Where to Go
The Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House is located in the heart of Gallery Row in downtown Lancaster at 123 North Prince Street, Lancaster, PA. The building will be open from 5 to 9 pm on Friday, November 5, 2021.