Noted York design firm’s origin: Clair Buchart ‘spread his work out on the living room table of his home in Yoe’
York, Pa., banking in the round
This round bank building on South Queen Street in York Township, Pa., is a landmark that highlights the design skills of York County-grown Buchart-Horn Inc./Basco Associates/Pace Resources. Architectural historian Scott Butcher highlights that design form in his Window into York blog post: York in the Round. Also of interest: Bright color replaced gritty gray at former Borg-Warner site and Two tales of four schools teach about change in York County education and Carriage house dome in West York: ‘What’s there will last for 100 years … 200 years’.
In the buildup to World War II, York County registered architect Clair Buchart considered the business potential in military work already flowing into York.
Two weeks before Pearl Harbor, he launched a tool and machine design business.
“One by one he acquired some initial projects and spread his work out on the living room table of his home in Yoe,” Georg Sheets writes in “Breaking Ground: The First Fifty Years of Excellence,” a 1995 book about architectural and engineering firm Buchart-Horn. “And that, Clair reports, is where it all began.”
What began in that Yoe living room is now an international company… .
Georg Sheets’ book on Buchart-Horn, Inc./Basco Associates/Pace Resources and founders Clair Buchart and Russell Horn Sr. is available on the Web.
Soon after the end of the war, Buchart teamed with engineer Russell Horn Sr., and thus Buchart-Horn began.
Clair Buchart was, indeed, an accomplished part of a long list of York County-based architects that include the famed Dempwolfs, John Hamme and Bill Dize.
Add Clair Buchart to the growing list of nominees for inclusion in a Mayor’s Awards for the Arts hall of fame, a proposal in the mold of the recent Governor’s Awards for the Arts.
Scott Buchart quite rightly nominated his father.
His e-mail, excerpted and edited here, makes the case:
I have to add to your list the name of my father, Clair Buchart, undoubtedly the most successful and prolific architect York (actually Yoe) ever produced. I don’t know much about his early career but I know that as a partner with John and Alfred Hamme, he personally designed at least the bell tower of St. Matthews Church and perhaps the entire edifice on W. Market Street and various buildings at Hood College.
After starting his own firm, public buildings in York City alone include Lincoln Fire Co., Hannah Penn Middle School, the M & T Bank building at Beaver and Market, and renovations to the Bon Ton downtown with the first escalator in York. He designed the present configuration of the square.
Every consolidated school building in York County was designed by his firm including York Suburban (high and middle schools), Red Lion, Kennard-Dale, Eastern and so on. Industrial buildings included the major addition to Caterpillar, the Borg Warner Office building and industrial plants, Campbell Chain (now Cooper Indus.), Book of the Month Club in Camp Hill, and Bennett Cerf’s Random House in Westminster, MD. The comprehensive plan for the city of Harrisburg was done personally by him. Design work was done over the entire east coast with offices from York to Johnstown, PA, Washington, D. C., to New Jersey, to Virginia to Memphis, TN. Considering that in 1955 the firm had $105,000,000.00 under contract when a York Suburban High School cost $3.5 million says something for being prolific.
And don’t forget his partner, Russell Horn, who at 98 is still alive. Russ, Jr. can tell you about him. The firm they created has a huge national and international presence today in the field of Architecture/Engineering.