York Town Square

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Author: ‘York’s streetscape features almost every style and era of American architecture’

Local architectural expert Scott Butcher chose Gethsemane Hall as the cover image of his new book, “York’s Historic Architecture.” Butcher writes that Freemasons constructed the 111 N. Beaver St. building in 1912. It was built after the Masons acquired the next-door, former York Post Office. Background posts: When did York’s square turn from Centre to Continental?, The Four Bloggers write and Virtual York offers colorful tour of York’s past.

Scott Butcher’s newest book will serve as a resource for countless people interested in York County’s architectural significant buildings.
The 157-page book is packed with photos and descriptions of private residences, houses of worship, commercial buildings and some structures that have seen many uses.
“From early Colonial taverns and ornate Victorian homes to the postmodern office towers of today, York’s streetscape features almost every style and era of American architecture,” Scott wrote in a news release.
Here’s how I’ll use the book: …

Elmwood’s “Hobbit House” is unusual for York County, Butcher writes. The Tudor Revival style house bears a false-thatched roof. The $19.99 book, published by History Press is available via Amazon.com. To read about a family that lived in the Hobbit House, check out: Former Hobbit House resident: ‘We loved that house and the Elmwood neighborhood’.
I’ve started checking off those buildings and residences that I’ve spent some time with visually. This means more than driving by them. And Scott gives short descriptions to mull as you look.
I was familar with most of the buildings, although the Hobbit House in Elmwood was among those new to me.
Then, if I’ve been inside the structures, I’ve started putting Xs next to the check.
I’ve been in relatively few of the buildings, although First Night York and other such functions give ready access.
But there’s no excuse for my never having been on the grounds – or purchased ice cream from – the Shoe House.
This time next year, I hope to have checks next to every building and make progress with my Xs.
I feel some urgency to make progress on this project. You never know when fire or some other disaster will strike these treasures. Or new owners can take over a building and reduce all hopes of public access.
Or worst still, the bulldozer strikes. Butcher deals with that topic, too, with an essay on “Why Preservation is Important.” He provides pictures of the Helb Mansion and York Collegiate Institute, two priceless treasures razed with little of significance replacing them.