York Town Square

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Facelift saves Noss House from its spot atop York’s most-endangered list

A local developer is turning the Noss House, which once stood atop list of the city’s most endangered historic place into apartments. (See additional photos, including one of the room that allows entry to the house’s trademark turret, below.) Background posts: Dempwolf’s Ashcombe Mansion: ‘I spent a fortune on this house. It’s crazy’, Author: ‘York’s streetscape features almost every style and era of American architecture’ and The real big York County house that little false teeth built.

Strike York’s Noss House from the most-endangered list.

Phoenix Property Management has purchased the 382 W. King St. Queen Anne-style structure and is turning it into apartments – or, actually, back into apartments.
According to a York Daily Record/Sunday News story, Herman Noss, operated of a nearby lumber and woodworking business in the 1800s, constructed the house.
That’s about right because the structure features elaborate hardwood floors, large windows and moldings from its original construction.
Mahogany is the wood of choice… .

The turret room is a feature of this second-story apartment.

Water from a leaky roof has damaged a few rooms and left a massive mahogany staircase untouched.
But developers are dealing with the structure just in time.

Here is York’s most endangered list, issued in 2006, as published in the York Daily Record/Sunday News:
1. The Noss House, 382 W. King St. This Queen Anne-style residence is architecturally significant for its unique corner turret with highly decorative trim and its bell-shaped roof. The house is vacant and rapidly deteriorating. It is the former home of Herman Noss, who owned a lumber business.
The current owner is unable to rehabilitate the building without significant financial assistance. Unless something is done soon, the building will be lost.
2. 36 S. Duke St. -The former Zion Lutheran Church. This church was constructed in 1850, enlarged in 1869 and altered in 1886 when the Romanesque Revival-style façade was constructed, including its square bell tower. The last congregation left in 1995 and the building was sold to the County of York to use for storage.
Estimates for rehabilitation are extremely high, so the building remains vacant, deteriorating and for sale.
3. The Old York Prison, 319 Chestnut St. – The former York County Prison built in 1906 has been vacant since the late 1970s. Local architect B.F. Willis designed the six-story building in the Italian Renaissance style. Several developers looked at the property with no serious plans. The size of the building, its continued deterioration and blighted condition, and the challenge to reuse the structure have resulted in its inclusion on the list.
4. 505 Linden Ave. – This building is one of a pair of nearly identical high-style Eastlake residences. Its neighbor at 515 Linden Ave. also has a four-sided turret with hexagonal slate shingles. The condition of 505 Linden Ave. is poor after years of neglect. Jim and Jean Leaman plan to rehabilitate the structure into a bed and breakfast.
5. 620-622 S. George St. -This Dempwolf-designed duplex was a beautiful example of the high-style townhouse that served as the homes of York’s upper middle-class families. The duplex has been converted to apartments, destroying some of the interior architectural features. The houses have been vacant for years. Partial demolition and a fire destroyed its original elaborate wood porch. The building was repossessed and turned over to a nonprofit to develop a black history museum. Until funding is secured, it continues to deteriorate.
6. 55 W. Philadelphia St. – The former York Post Office. Constructed in 1895, this former post office is an excellent example of the Romanesque Revival style of architecture complete with rounded arch windows, a corner turret and decorative gargoyles and terra cotta faces on the façade. The current owner only uses a portion of the property and is interested in selling. Finding a new owner and a new use will ensure its continued preservation.

The Noss House’s staircase is an outstanding internal feature.