Green Infrastructure Adventure: Sehner-Ellicott von Hess House

123 North Prince Street

This Georgian house was built around 1787 by Gottlieb Sehner as his private home.

The Sehner-Ellicott von Hess House

However, the building’s most famous resident was Major Andrew Ellicott. He rented the property from 1801 to 1813 after being appointed Secretary of the State Land Office by Pennsylvania’s first governor, Thomas Mifflin. At this time, Lancaster was the state capital.


Ellicott was a busy man. Period.

He completed the plans for the nation’s capital at Washington D.C. after Pierre Charles L’Enfant gave up. Ellicott spent four years surveying Florida for the United States government. For Pennsylvania, he surveyed the Commonwealth’s northern boundary with New York State, a difficult task through rugged country. He was also a member of the commission, which completed the work of drawing the Mason-Dixon line.

Lewis & Clark

On July 4, 1803, President Thomas Jefferson completed the Louisiana Purchase. This $15 million land deal added an additional 828,000 square miles to the United States. The next step was to survey this mainly unknown territory.

Ellicott, then too old to undertake the proposed wilderness expedition, agreed to instruct a young Army captain by the name of Meriwether Lewis with the necessary skills that Ellicott had devised or adapted from conventional equipment specialized survey instruments over his lifetime.

Meriwether Lewis

Lewis spent several weeks here in Lancaster at 123 North Prince Street as a guest of Ellicot to complete his training.

West Point

In 1812 the United States started a military academy at West Point. Despite being nearly 60, Ellicott was asked to serve as the Commandant of the United States Military Academy at West Point until he died in 1820. Ellicott is buried on Academy grounds.

Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County

Today the building serves as office space for the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County. Consider following them on Facebook. The Trust uses a variety of methods to encourage and facilitate preservation throughout Lancaster County.

If you have the time, take a look inside their side yard, it’s a beautiful location with some interesting architectural pieces.


To reveal the location of the final stop, enter the year that the Sehner-Ellicott von Hess House was restored?

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