December 3: First Friday Open House event at the historic Ellicott House

Join me on Friday, December 3, 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. This free event includes inexpensive Lancaster-themed items for sale, individually packaged snacks, hot cider, self-guided tours of the house, and an Uncharted Lancaster mini-adventure with prizes.

The Trust will have a swag door prize from Susan Dippre Designs. So be sure to stop by!

Susan Dippre Designs swag door prize.

If you missed last month’s First Friday Open House, this is your last chance to explore inside the gorgeous building (located at 123 N. Prince Street, Lancaster) until spring 2022. Trust board members will be on hand to talk about historic preservation and the structure.

Items for Sale

The Trust will also be selling a large selection of prints, posters, books, and shirts. These are perfect gifts for anyone who loves Lancaster and Lancaster history. ** If my wife is reading this, I’d love a copy of the Pequea Valley poster by John A. Jarvis. Hint. Hint.** Click here for a complete listing of items that will be on sale.

Uncharted Lancaster

I will be onsite, so say hi and pick up some free Uncharted Lancaster stickers and magnets swag. If you want to get a jump start on this exclusive one-night-only adventure that will have you exploring the building and nearby area for prizes. Click here if you want to get a jump start on your quest!

In addition, I will have some old reproduction maps of downtown Lancaster for you to examine. I will also have photos and charts from my expeditions out to the region’s oldest man-made artifacts—the petroglyphs of Safe Harbor. These 1,000-year-old rock carvings are thought to be made by a relatively unknown group of Native Americans known as the Shenks Ferry people.

I will also have some tremendous adventure-themed gifts on sale for the nerd in your life. Only $15 each!

  • 3D printed Headpiece to the Staff of Ra with intercepted Nazi telegram.
  • One-Eyed Willy’s treasure map with 3D printed Copper Bones and metallic pirate doubloon.
  • Sons of Liberty Adventure Bundle with tons of Uncharted Lancaster merch and access to a downtown Lancaster adventure has you exploring the epicenter for the spirit of independence in Lancaster County. On this adventure, you will discover the people and sometimes secret locations that helped shape America in her hour of need.

Don’t miss it! I hope to see you there!

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.

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.

Follow the Trust on Facebook for more architectural information and history from Lancaster County. Learn more at their website, or better yet, consider becoming a member of the Trust today.

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, December 3, 2021.

For more information about the event, visit the Trust’s website or their Facebook event page.



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