April 1: First Friday Open House event at the historic Ellicott House

This is no April Fool’s joke! 

Join me on Friday, April 1, 2022, 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.

Come say “hi” and pick up some free Uncharted Lancaster stickers and magnets swag. I will also be running my First Friday Mini-Adventure that will have you exploring downtown Lancaster. Fantastic prizes are up for grabs with your choice between a 1.25″ soft enamel pin, a 3″ embroidered patch, or in honor of my upcoming $1,500 Easter Egg Treasure Hunt a 1.18″ metal replica Spanish Doubloon. Click here to get a head start on the First Friday Mini-Adventure!

Items for Sale

The Trust will also be selling a large selection of prints, posters, books, and apparel. PLUS beautiful 18″ x 24″ prints of William Wagner’s 1821 map of Lancaster County. This restored and edited document serves as the treasure map for my upcoming $1,500 Easter Egg Treasure Hunt that begins on April 9, 2022. Click here to read more about the upcoming quest to find my Easter Egg.

Wagner’s 1821 map is historically significant. It is the first official document to show Lancaster County’s modern iconic shape. Since its creation on May 10, 1729, Lancaster’s boundaries changed several times over the decades, and it wasn’t until 1813 that it finally transformed into the diamond silhouette we recognize today. Can’t make it to the Trust on Friday? Order your treasure map from the Trust’s website.

Find a treasure. Preserve a treasure.

When you purchase a copy of the map, you also get a year’s membership in the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. Profits from this year’s treasure hunt are being used to kick start the Trust’s digital archiving project. This ambitious undertaking involves scanning their 160,000 artifact collection, including many one-kind items that highlight Lancaster County’s rich architectural heritage. The project is expected to cost upwards of $200,000. So while you are busy trying to find my treasure, you are helping the Trust preserve theirs.

Click here for a complete listing of items that will be on sale.

Pop-Up Art Show

The Trust will also be hosting local artist Evanna Morris Friday for a one-night-only pop-up art. Click here to read more about Morris.

This free event also includes self-guided tours of the house. This is an exciting opportunity to explore inside this gorgeous building (located at 123 N. Prince Street, Lancaster) while seeing Morris’ art.

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 to 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 all over 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 April 1, 2022.

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



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