York Town Square

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Famed Dempwolf architects designed big house in tiny Gatchelville, in rural York County

The Wilson house in York County, Pa.’s, Gatchelville is an example of a rural house built in a small town. The photograph was donated by Donald Wilson and will appear in an upcoming picture book to be published by the Stewartstown Historical Society. Also of interest: ‘Yesteryears’ chock-full of southern York County sites – Part I and Southeastern York County, Pa., student of history gives lessons about that region’s landmarks and With Main Street in Stewartstown covered, historical group compiling photos of side streets.

Architectural historian and Yorkblogger Scott Butcher succinctly summarizes York County’s Victoran-era Dempwolf design firm:
“The J.A. Dempwolf firm was the most prolific and successful architectural practice in York County history, designing over 500 buildings during the 50 years that John Augustus Dempwolf was at the helm.
“Landmark buildings like York’s Central Market House and Gettysburg College’s Glatfelter Hall were designed by J.A. and brother Reinhardt Dempwolf, along with a talented staff of young architects who learned the professional under Dempwolf’s tutelage.”
Among those 500 buildings is a house is a remote part of southeastern York County, Gatchelville in Fawn Township… .

This photograph of a group of men and a little girl was taken on the main street of Stewartstown at the square, looking north. Doug Winemiller speculated that the time frame might be from the 1890 to the early 1900’s. The building in the background is the Fulton House (hotel), standing today. This photograph was donated by James Maddox and will appear in the picture book.

In a sense, it should not be surprising that the Dempwolf’s design would reach there. Dempwolf drew up plans for nearby Centre Presbyterian Church in New Park.
The photo of this house will appear in a book to be published by the Stewartstown Historical Society.
Society member Doug Winemiller, who e-mailed the photograph, wrote that the floor plans for the house exist, found in the York County archives.
The society is searching for additional photographs, particularly those from before 1960.
He wrote:

The photographs will be digitally copied and returned to their owners. Any topic is acceptable–family scenes, children working or playing, businesses, one-room schools, pictures of the NP and FG Railroad or the Stewartstown Railroad, churches, fraternal organizations, sports, etc., We want to preserve the pictorial history of the area.
We especially need photographs from Fawn Township (New Park and Fawn Grove), East Hopewell, North Hopewell and Hopewell Townships, and Winterstown. We also need additional photographs of the Stewartstown area.

If you have photographs, contact Doug or the historical society.
As for the Wilson house, it’s just wonderful to see “designer houses” in small towns.
The hamlet of Gatchelville is out there. Fawn Grove, the closest borough, is seen here.