Location: Lancaster, Erie County, New York
NPS Form 10-900a
United States Department of the Interior National Park Service National Register of Historic Places Central Avenue Historic District Erie County, New York
CENTRAL AVENUE HISTORIC DISTRICT – STATEMENT OF SIGNIFICANCE:
The Central Avenue Historic District is significant under Criterion A in the area of Community Planning and Development and Criterion C in the area of Architecture as an intact enclave of primarily commercial architecture dating between ca. 1860 and ca. 1935. The district encompasses a notable collection of mostly Italianate and Queen Anne commercial styles, reflective of a time of prosperity in the Village of Lancaster. The once bustling commercial center in the village thrived as the result of industrial development and improvements in transportation technologies, including better road systems, railroads, and eventually the electric trolley. This group of historic commercial buildings, with the prominent and individually significant Lancaster Opera House as its centerpiece, stands out among adjacent modern commercial development. At the heart of the village, these significant buildings are associated with prominent businesses and figures in Lancaster's history at the turn of the twentieth century.
By the 1860s, there was a firmly established commercial corridor along West Main Street and Central Avenue known as Railroad Street. Lancaster's commercial center, originally wood-frame construction, was devastated by fires in 1894 and 1896 but was rebuilt in the next few decades with mixed-use commercial/residential buildings of brick construction. East to west through traffic, as well as the 1894 establishment of the Buffalo, Belleview, and Lancaster Electric Car, a trolley line which traveled from Buffalo to Lancaster and Depew through the heart of the village, continued to encourage development along West Main Street and Central Avenue. The mid-1930s saw the slow decline of the village's traditional commercial center, largely due to changes in traffic patterns, the growing popularity of the automobile, and the economic crisis of the Great Depression. With Urban Renewal efforts in the 1960s and 70s, many of the original commercial buildings along West Main Street were lost, demolished to create a new larger shopping center (now mostly vacant). Despite these losses, the Central Avenue Historic District stands out from the surrounding area as a contiguous, pedestrian-oriented commercial area that retains much of the original turn-of-the-century architectural and historic character.
PERIOD OF SIGNIFICANCE
The period of significance for the Central Avenue Historic District is representative of a second wave of development in the Village of Lancaster from ca. 1860 to 1940, documented in the historic context, Socioeconomic Growth and Maturity of the Village of Lancaster, 1850-1949, in the village Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF). This context documents the development of Lancaster's commercial downtown from the first brick commercial building constructed to the last. This marks a period of great economic success in Lancaster, which is evident in the relatively high style architecture and quality of building materials. The period of significance ends in 1940, with the relocation of the 1894 Potter-Eaton House from its location at 802 East Main Street to its current site at Clark Street, to save it from demolition. The period of significance also encompasses the notable construction of the "Broadway Cut Off" in 1936, which connected Broadway Street to East Main Street and eliminated the need for east-west travel through the commercial corridor. This event marked a radical transformation in the physical street plan of Lancaster, one that shifted from the pedestrianoriented local business needs to one that began to cater to automobile traffic. This project was part of a larger commercial reorganization occurring in Lancaster, that also spurred the removal of the Potter-Eaton House. By 1940, the Lancaster faced an era of developmental decline in the village’s traditional downtown commercial sector, exacerbated by the Great Depression in the 1930s and the increasing freedom that came with the automobile, which gave rise to centralized shopping plazas and malls outside of traditional historic commercial downtowns.
SETTLEMENT AND DEVELOPMENT OF THE VILLAGE OF LANCASTER (1807-1849)
NOTE: Much of the information provided in this brief history of the Village of Lancaster has been summarized and paraphrased from the more thorough historical background presented in the related MPDF. For a more detailed history of the Village of Lancaster, please refer to the multiple property documentation form, Historic and Architectural Resources of the Village of Lancaster, Erie County, New York.
The location of the settlement originally known as Cayuga Creek, the present-day Village of Lancaster, was rich in natural resources, making it ideal for settlement and growth. The fertile soil and proximity to Cayuga Creek would eventually allow the early settlement to become first a thriving farming area and then an industrial community. Though the first settler, Edward Kearney, built his log house in 1807, the land was densely forested and difficult to transverse. The establishment of transportation routes in the early nineteenth century was vital to initial growth at the site of the present village of Lancaster as a small trade center for the local agricultural community. In the earliest times, the area was reached by various Indian trails, including the Iroquois Trail (now Route 5). In 1808, the Holland Land Company constructed a dirt road from Alden to Buffalo, through what would become the village of Lancaster, which greatly improved accessibility to the small settlement. This road was first known as Buffalo Road and subsequently called Cayuga Creek Plank Road, West Main Street, and Broadway within the village of Lancaster. The road was originally constructed as a dirt road, just wide enough for a wagon, but later became a wooden road, consisting of logs with wood planks running lengthwise nailed to the logs, hence the name "Cayuga Creek Plank Road." (6) Once early roads were established, the settlement began to grow next to Cayuga Creek, which was ideal for hydro power. Milling was one of the first industries in the area, and mills were located along the creek, close to the current Central Avenue Historic District.
Improvements to transportation modes and systems continued to be important in the early development of the Lancaster. During the initial settlement period, other than walking, a horse carriage was the primary means of transportation to and from the developing village. The Pioneer Line was established in 1827 as a stagecoach service which ran along Broadway Street from Buffalo to Lancaster and then eastward along Buffalo Road. This brought travelers through the heart of what would become the commercial downtown and created a need for goods and services. At the site of the present-day Municipal Building, at the foot of Central Avenue, Edward Kearny built a tavern known as the American House (demolished 1930), which became a popular stop among those traveling the stagecoach line. This sparked a small commercial district in the settlement because, as travelers stopped to rest, they often were in need of services and goods, and businesses were established to accommodate the travelers' needs. Early businesses included a post office, general stores, and hotels.
The travel route through the settlement was also vital to early development of the commercial core. Broadway Street did not always connect at the foot of Central Avenue as it does today. Originally, Buffalo Road (now Broadway Street) was located completely north of Cayuga Creek, but a series of floods pushed the creek northward until it became necessary for travelers to change their route.(7) Buffalo Road could not continue between Aurora Street and the foot of Central Avenue because this was a low lying part of Cayuga Creek prone to flooding, thus West Main Street was constructed ca. 1810 as a detour. Railroad Street (now Central Avenue) was shifted east to connect with the eastern portion of the disconnected Buffalo Road. West Main Street and Railroad Street became part of the major thoroughfare of the developing settlement. When heading west through the village to Buffalo, one would begin on East Main Street, turn north onto Central Avenue, west on West Main Street, and south on Aurora Street to reach Broadway Street. This travel pattern through the commercial downtown continued for more than a century and contributed to the early success of businesses on Central Avenue and West Main Street, bringing travelers through the heart of the village to stop and purchase goods and services.
Perhaps the most significant catalyst for the village's population growth and development occurred in 1842 with the establishment of the Buffalo & Attica Railroad, north of the village line, which greatly improved transportation of goods and people to and from Lancaster.(8) It was likely that the northern portion of Central Avenue (formerly Railroad Street) developed during the 1840s to connect the train station north of the village to the developing village center.(9) As a result of improvement in access to markets, new industries were able to develop in the Lancaster area, including tanneries, iron furnaces, foundries and a glass factory. This growth in industrial development further increased the population by attracting workers and their families to the area.
The New York State Legislature established the town of Lancaster in 1833, subdividing the town of Clarence and changing the name of the Cayuga Creek settlement to "Lancaster," a name taken from an old English dukedom.(10) The village of Lancaster was incorporated in 1849 and is the third oldest incorporated village in Erie County, after Springville and Gowanda, both to the south of the Buffalo. The settlement had a steadily growing population up until the time of Lancaster's incorporation. Initial settlers to the area hailed primarily from New England and Pennsylvania and were followed by German immigrants who arrived during the 1830s. Irish immigrants fleeing the Irish Potato Famine arrived in the 1840s. At the time of incorporation, there were 124 families with a population of 677 residents. There are no extant resources from this period located in the Central Avenue Historic District.
SOCIOECONOMIC GROWTH AND MATURITY OF THE VILLAGE OF LANCASTER (1850-1949)
At its incorporation, the settlement still consisted of a relatively small-scale residential area, surrounding an equally modest business district along Railroad Street (now Central Avenue) and West Main Street. (11) Walking remained the primary means of travel and most residents lived within close proximity of the commercial downtown. In addition to residential development on surrounding streets, many of the business owners lived in the upper stories above their shops or in small houses behind them. In 1849, a number of wealthy Dutch merchants and manufacturers from Friesland, Holland moved to the village and became community leaders and business owners.(12) A significant wave of Dutch immigration to the United States occurred from 1845 to 1855, primarily the result of religious and economic dissatisfaction.(13) The influx of Dutch immigrants caused land prices in the village to rise from 30 dollars to 50 dollars per acre, and the population more than doubled, from 677 in 1849 to 1,518 in 1866. (14),(15) The sudden swell in population and economic growth expanded the market for local businesses, triggering a boom in commercial architecture to house them.
The community continued to grow at a steady pace from the 1860s to the 1890s, and several institutions and organizations developed with it. By the mid nineteenth century there were several churches housing Presbyterian, German Methodist, German Lutheran, and Roman Catholic congregations.(16) During the latter half of the nineteenth century, several school houses and social institutions were established, and in 1874, the first fire company in Lancaster was founded. As industry in Lancaster changed and developed, the demographics of the population changed. By the 1890s, new immigrants from Poland, Italy, the Ukraine, the Balkans, Hungary, Russia, Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia came to work in the surrounding factories, fueling the expansion of businesses as well as road improvements to connect them. In 1884, Lancaster was said to have:
"[...] two flower mills, one carriage factory, the Lancaster glass works, one iron foundry, three breweries, two planning mills, one tannery, one malt house, one bedstead shop, two cabinet shops, three tin shops, two meat markets, one drug store, four general stores, three grocery stores, two tailor shops, one harness shop, three hotels, four blacksmith shops, one basket shop and numerous saloons." (17)
Transportation continued to progress in the second half of the nineteenth century, and the village continued to grow due to the expansion of railroads. May 14, 1883 marked the arrival of the first train on the Delaware, Lackawanna, and Western Railroad. Lancaster was also accessible via the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which opened its line in 1889. The 1840s era Buffalo & Attica Railroad was joined with seven other rail lines to create the New York Central Railroad.(18) Additionally, roads improved and stage coach services thrived as the village's population grew. J.A.B. Shirman ran a stage coach line on Central Avenue and ran travelers from the railroad stations, down Central Avenue and east on Broadway, formerly East Main Street.(19) Road improvements included the introduction of the first oil burning street lamps in 1867; these were not replaced with electric lamps until the late 1890s.(20)
It was during this period that the contributing resources at 1 West Main Street and 5 West Main Street were constructed. After construction, 1 West Main Street changed hands between many saloon and restaurant owners. The building at 5 West Main and may have originally been home to M. Windling's saloon and restaurant, but it was also an early butcher shop. These were among the earliest brick buildings in the commercial downtown, reflecting an increase in the community's wealth and interest in creating a more permanent commercial core.
Fire in the Commercial District and Post-Fire Reconstruction
By the late 1800s, there was a well-established business district along Central Avenue and West Main Streets consisting of generally two-story wood-frame commercial buildings and dwellings on Central Avenue and smaller, more concentrated buildings along West Main Street. Wood-frame buildings dominated the commercial corridor, as they were relatively inexpensive and could be built more quickly to serve the growing population. However, the main commercial area was devastated by fires in 1894 and in 1896. With the abundance of wood-frame buildings and the lack of an established system to distribute water at that time, both fires spread quickly and did considerable damage.(21) Several of the destroyed buildings were located within the boundaries of the Central Avenue Historic District, and resources in the district were constructed to replace them.
On April, 4, 1894, a fire began in a barn behind Mrs. E. Mosack's butcher shop at 524 Central Avenue, spread down the south side of West Main Street, crossed over to the other side of Central Avenue and then south.(22) After enduring for three to four hours, the fire destroyed buildings and property amounting to over $100,000 in damages. Among the buildings destroyed were the Reyner Estate Exchange Block, at 520-522 Central Avenue, and Dr. Samuel Potter's house and barn at 804 East Main Street, all of which were promptly rebuilt.(23) The brick buildings at the northern corner of West Main Street (1 and 5 West Main Street) were damaged but salvageable because of their brick construction.(24)
The fire of 1896 started in an abandoned soap factory at 514-516 Central Avenue, owned by Hoffeld & Co., and spread rapidly down both sides of Central Avenue.(25) Firemen were unable to reach it in time because the "engine hose carts" and other firefighting equipment were being stored in other parts of the village while the firehouse was being built. The fire crossed Central Avenue, and among the destroyed buildings were the original hardware store of J.N. Maute and the Cushing Block.(26) The fire was put out before it spread to West Main Street, but the total damage amounted to $45,000.(27) This fire was the catalyst for installation of a water distribution and fire hydrant system in the village between 1896 and 1900.(28)
Despite losses in the downtown commercial architecture, there was enough wealth and prosperity in the village to warrant the reconstruction of the commercial downtown. In fact, the population had risen from about 1,600 in 1880 to 3,750 in 1900, and lost buildings were home to businesses that provided vital goods and services to villagers.(29) Many business owners had new, more substantial brick buildings constructed after the fire, and these form the commercial corridor today. Some buildings, like the Raynor Exchange, the Cushing Block, and Maute Block, all extant resources, were rebuilt almost immediately because the businesses they held had already established success in the village. Several new wood-frame commercial buildings were constructed to give displaced businesses a location to reopen, but they were subsequently replaced with more substantial brick and stone buildings over approximately the next 40 years. During the subsequent years of post-fire development, the population rose from 3,750 in 1900 to 7,040 in 1930, signaling a need for continued construction of commercial buildings to accommodate the growing population.
Continued commercial development along West Main Street and Central Avenue was encouraged by the construction of the Buffalo, Belleview, and Lancaster Electric Railway. A trolley line was constructed from Buffalo to Lancaster and Depew called the Buffalo, Belleview and Lancaster Electric Railway (BB&L). By 1893, the BB&L trolley went as far as the corner of Sawyer and Central Avenues, approximately one-half mile north of the district. There were two cars running from Lancaster to Cheektowaga and then two running from Cheektowaga to the Buffalo City Line. The concept of running the line down Central Avenue was initially met with opposition by homeowners, as well as stage coach drivers on Central Avenue who transported passengers from the railway into Lancaster and knew it would makes their services obsolete. Progress won out in the end, and by May of 1894, the electric rail was completed on Central Avenue. The BB&L carried more than 500,000 passengers during 1896 and 1897.(3)0 The final route of the electric car through the village of Lancaster from Buffalo was along Como Park Boulevard, then north on Church Street to Broadway, west on Broadway (which was then called East Main Street) to Central Avenue, and traveled north until it turned west on Sawyer Avenue.(31) This route brought passengers from Buffalo and surrounding suburbs through the heart of Lancaster's commercial downtown. The BB&L Trolley service went out of business on December 31, 1931, at a time when many streetcar lines were shut down in the Buffalo area, due largely to the growing popularity of buses and automobiles.(32)
During the late 1800s and early 1900s, many improvements were made to the Lancaster streets. Electric street lamps were first introduced in 1897, when Earnest Feyler signed a contract with the village to provide electricity to twenty streetlights with his early electric generator, located in the basement of the Buffalo Dry Goods Store at 16 Central Avenue. Roads in the village of Lancaster were not paved with brick until 1912. Broadway was paved with yellow brick and red brick down the middle to signify where the trolley line traveled and West Main Street, along with several other roads, was paved with red brick. Roads were not paved with blacktop until the early 1930s, when cars and busses were becoming more prevalent on the roads.(33)
1940-TODAY: AUTOMOBILE AGE, URBAN RENEWAL, AND PRESERVATION EFFORTS
As was the case for many communities throughout the United States, the Great Depression played a significant role in the decline of development in the commercial downtown of Lancaster. The 1930s saw a great decline of small businesses in Lancaster's Central Business District. As was common throughout the country during the Great Depression, Lancaster experienced large-scale unemployment that continued throughout the decade and several businesses were forced to close.(34) From 1930 to 1940, the once rapidly growing population only rose by approximately 240 people. After ca. 1935 there were no new buildings within the historic district boundaries, clearly demonstrating the decline of development in Lancaster's historic commercial corridor. The final building constructed in the Central Avenue Historic District is located at 24-26 Central Avenue. Prosperity briefly returned in the village during World War II with industrial development in surrounding areas, including the Curtiss-Wright aircraft facility in nearby Cheektowaga. After the war, however, the village of Lancaster never regained its former status as a dynamic commercial center.(35)
The economic struggles of the Great Depression era, coupled with the growing popularity of the automobile, mark the end of development in the Central Avenue Historic District. Although buses started to run along Central Avenue in the 1920s, the impact of the automobile became especially apparent in the 1930s, as residents continued to travel further distances from the traditional downtown corridor. Significant changes were made to the character of the village of Lancaster as it struggled to become attractive again. The period of significance for the Central Avenue Historic District ends in 1940 with the move of the Potter-Eaton House from East Main Street/Broadway to Clark Street, to protect it from new commercial development. This commercial development was prompted by the 1936 construction of the "Broadway Cut Off," which connected Broadway to East Main Street. This modification to Broadway Street occurred during a time when it was common to make roads more automobile friendly by reducing road obstacles and straightening routes.(36) At this time, East Main Street was renamed "Broadway Street." This change in the road pattern effectively eliminated any need for through traffic to travel on Central Avenue or West Main Street, which aided the decline of businesses after the 1930s.(37) With the rise in automobile ownership, road improvements, and suburban living, Lancaster saw further decline in its downtown commercial district. Typical of the era, as residents were lured from city and village centers by centralized auto-oriented shopping plazas and, later, shopping malls offering large, modern stores and amenities, the pedestrian-oriented commercial downtown became less desirable and businesses suffered.
In the 1950s and 60s several residential subdivisions were established in the village of Lancaster, including the Como Park Subdivision and 74 new home sites on Central Avenue constructed by Columbia Builders.(38) Businesses along Central Avenue and West Main Street continued to stay open until the 1960s with this residential growth nearby. But in March of 1961 there was yet another fire that destroyed a large part of the north side of West Main Street.(39) From 1967 to 1973, there was a push for urban renewal projects in the historic commercial corridor in an attempt to make the village attractive to shoppers once again. It was during this period that West Main Street was cut off from Aurora Street, and the majority of buildings on West Main Street were demolished to make way for a new single-story retail building and a large parking lot.(40) This was an effort to make Lancaster's downtown commercial district more automobile friendly and modern, but it eliminated half of the historic commercial downtown, damaging its character of a century before.
Changing attitudes about preservation of Lancaster's remaining historic downtown were evident when a historic district commission formed in the mid-1980s and subsequently established an historic district.(41) The original local historic preservation district boundaries included properties along Broadway Street from east of the village line to Central Avenue and along Central to Brookfield Place. The district was enlarged in 1998 to include properties along Broadway to Aurora Street, along Aurora to Pleasant Avenue and Pleasant Avenue to Central.(42) In January of 2007, new legislation for the central business district was adopted in order to create guidelines for signage, property usage, lot requirements, etc. (43) Additionally, in March of 1999, Taylor & Taylor Associates prepared a Multiple Property Documentation Form (MPDF) of the Historic & Architectural Resources of the Village of Lancaster, Erie County, New York.
ARCHITECTURE OF THE CENTRAL AVENUE HISTORIC DISTRICT
Before the fires devastated downtown Lancaster, the commercial buildings lining West Main Street and Central Avenue were largely two-story frame buildings, although there were constructed of brick. After the fires, many of the business owners chose to rebuild in the same locations with more fire resistant masonry construction instead. While two of the commercial buildings predate the fire, the rest of the buildings range from 1894-1935 . Buildings within the district are generally characterized as two-part commercial blocks, two- to threestories tall with retail space on the ground floor and apartments or office space on the upper floors. The majority were built of brick. Fenestration varies from building to building but typically includes flat-topped to rounded or segmental arched openings and some with more decorative stone sills or lintels. Many buildings contain windows with modern replacement sash units set into the historic masonry openings. Roofs are generally flat, although some have a gradual slope downward toward the rear elevation. Some cast-iron storefronts remain intact. However, several buildings have been modified over time, receiving new storefronts, windows, facades, and artificial siding.(44) Some alterations occurred as the result of a 2008 New York Main Street Award for facade improvements.(45)
Victorian Two-Part Commercial Blocks
Architectural historian Richard Longstreth defines a typology of commercial buildings, independent of applied ornament, in his book The Buildings of Main Street. Here, he identifies the “two-part block” as the "most common type of composition used for small and moderate-sized commercial buildings throughout the country." Buildings of this category feature two distinctive portions, an articulated (an often more detailed and ornamented) ground level storefront, with an upper portion of one or more stories of similar detailing and elaboration. A number of the buildings within the district are Victorian two-part commercial blocks, which were generally popular between 1850 and 1870 but often continued to be constructed decades later. Such buildings tended to be characterized by additive, ornate components, especially embellished cornices, decorative window and door surrounds, and cornices or stringcourses between each floor. More decorative features were made possible because of technological advances which made mass-produced decorative building components more easily available and affordable. This trend was popularized in an attempt to make individual buildings stand out within commercial areas.(46) The highly ornate features of Victorian two-part commercial blocks are evident in the Italianate and Queen Anne styling of several buildings within the district.
Italianate was a leading style for nineteenth-century commercial buildings. The style emerged in the 1830s as part of the picturesque movement, which drew inspiration from the informal and rambling Italian farmhouses and villas. In the United States, the style was popularized in the writings and pattern books of architectural theorists such as Andrew Jackson Downing. In New York, the Italianate style proliferated throughout cities, towns and rural areas from the 1850s until the turn of the century. Sometimes referred to as the Bracketed style, perhaps the key distinguishing feature of the Italianate style is its decoratively cut, often scrolled brackets, which were typically used in abundance to support door and window hoods and to embellish the prominent cornice. Since commercial buildings, unlike grand residential estates, typically feature one or two prominent elevations, the picturesque elements of the style were generally more limited to certain key elements and details applied to a primary façade. Italianate style commercial buildings are generally characterized by tall, narrow window openings, a cast-iron first floor facade and second floor brick facade and a bracketed decorative cornice. (47)
The Central Avenue Historic District has many representative, relatively modest examples of commercial Italianate buildings, including the Maute Block at 43 Central Avenue, and the Raynor Exchange/ Braun Building at 16 Central Avenue, 31 Central Avenue, and 4 West Main Street, most of which of which are generally characterized by rounded arch window openings and denticulated cornices. The building at 1 West Main Street also features some Italianate elements, including rounded arch windows and double brackets at the cornice. The district also contains more "high style" examples, including the Lancaster Opera House/Town Hall at 21 Central Avenue, which features a highly decorative clock tower.48 Designed by leading Buffalo architect George J. Metzger, who was adept at designing in the commercial Italianate style, the Lancaster Opera House is a signature building in Lancaster and represents the more decorative, picturesque qualities of the style. While these were all constructed after the general period in which Italianate commercial buildings were popular, it was not uncommon to find a lag in styles in smaller, more rural villages.
Queen Anne (1880-1910)
Named for the early eighteenth century British monarch, the Queen Anne movement began in England in the 1860s. The Queen Anne style in England had a wide variety of sources and inspirations, from Medieval Tudorera half-timbered structures, to the more classically inspired Renaissance-era designs of the Elizabethan and Jacobean periods. Gothic influences were also apparent in the Queen Anne style. This wide variety of historical and constructional sources all merge in the Queen Anne style in the United States. The eclectic style is characterized by irregular forms, massing and shapes, and a wall surface which is frequently broken by recesses, projections, towers, and bays. One of the most common elements found in both high-style and vernacular examples is the widespread use of patterned or shaped shingles, available in a myriad of shapes and designs. Queen Anne style commercial architecture is less common than residential examples. The Central Avenue Historic District has two buildings in the Queen Anne style, both of which are characterized by decorative asymmetrical facades: The building at 1 West Main Street, with its turret at the southeast corner, and 30 Central Avenue, with its oriel window and shingled gable end. The Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House at 21 Central Avenue also features elements of Queen Anne style with its asymmetrical facade and decorative front gable dormer.
Academic Approach to Two-Part Commercial Blocks
From the 1890s to the 1920s, there was a shift from the ornate commercial architecture of the Victorian Era toward a more "academic approach" to the commercial designs. This "academic approach" was characterized by architecture with more balance and order to the designs and streetscapes, often drawing inspiration from Classical architectural sources. While individual Victorian commercial blocks were meant to attract attention, commercial blocks in this new era were designed to create unity in the design of the commercial downtown. This allowed certain highly decorative buildings to stand out. Buildings of this era were generally very plain with few, if any, decorative features.(49) As many of the buildings within the district coincide with this era, there are several commercial buildings with little to no ornamentation or distinct architectural style within the district that create a sense of order and balance along the commercial streets and allow buildings such as the Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House or the Maute Block to stand out as community landmarks. Minimally decorated buildings within the district were constructed ca. 1897-ca. 1935 and include 24 Central Avenue and 50 Central Avenue.
Residential Architecture – Colonial Revival (1880-1955)
Growing interest in classical design and greater regard for more “correct” composition encouraged the development of the Colonial Revival style. Colonial Revival houses typically have massing and detail derived from Colonial and Federal prototypes, but the size and scale of Colonial Revival houses are larger than those of the original models. Most Colonial Revival buildings have contained rectilinear massing, broken perhaps by bay windows; symmetrical facades with central entrances; front porches with columns and classical balustrades; relatively uniform roofs, sometimes elaborated on the façade by a cross gable or a row of dormers; and window shutters. Palladian windows, corner pilasters, and garland-and-swag trim are common decorative elements. Materials used range from wood clapboard and shingle to brick and stone. Often the entry door is accented with a decorative surround or entry porch, a feature far less common to original Colonial houses. The Central Avenue Historic District features one Colonial Revival building: the Potter-Eaton House at 40 Clark Street, characterized by its accentuated front entry door with sidelites and rounded entry porch, symmetrical fenestration, and decorative cornice with dentils and modillions.
NOTABLE BUSINESSES AND PEOPLE IN THE CENTRAL AVENUE HISTORIC DISTRICT
Buildings within the Central Avenue Historic District held businesses during the late 1800s and early 1900s that provided essential goods to residents and were associated with prominent merchants, organizations, and citizens, all of whom left a lasting impact on the character of the village of Lancaster. A small commercial center had already been established along West Main Street and Central Avenue by the 1890s, but as the population grew and the electric street car made the businesses accessible to a wider range of people, there was a higher demand for a wide variety of goods and services in Lancaster's commercial downtown.
Downtown Lancaster's streetscape is centered around the Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House, located at 21 Central Avenue, which was constructed between 1894-96. For centuries, it was common for towns to have an opera house that served as a multifunctional gathering space that was a combination music hall and governmental building. The Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House is one of the last remaining buildings of this type in the county. The fine building with both Italianate and Queen Anne styling was designed by prominent Buffalo architect, George J. Metzger (1855-1929).(50) The town hall and opera house served a number of other functions over time. Inside the building is a fifty-two foot by fifty-seven foot auditorium, ideal for dances, recitals, and musicals. Various spaces in the building were used during difficult times in the country's history. During the Great Depression, a distribution center was set up for food and clothing, and throughout World War II, there was a sewing room in the basement and parachutes were folded in the auditorium. After the war in the 1950s, the theater was used for the Civil Defense Headquarters, where plane spotter and air raid drills were organized. Additionally, the Lancaster Public Library was located on the first floor from 1896 to 1941, and the opera house once housed the post office, a printing company, the Erie County Civil Defense Headquarters, and the recreation department. As part of the village's bicentennial celebration, the building was restored in 1975, and September 20, 1981 marked the reopening of the opera house. After the rehabilitation, the Landmark Society of the Niagara Frontier awarded the opera house the Pewter Plate Award for an "outstanding renovation and operations of a historic venue." Since the rehabilitation, this community landmark has been home to the town offices on the basement and first floors and a performing arts center on the second and third floor. A contemporary two-story addition has been constructed on the rear of the building, but it reflects the architectural lines and design of the original 1894 portion.(51)
George J. Metzger (November 17, 1855- December 7, 1929) was a prolific architect whose career began at age twenty, and he later rose to the position of county architect of Erie County.(52) He attended public school in Buffalo, but the location of his architectural training is unknown. His office was located in the German Insurance Building, 455 Main Street, downtown Buffalo. At the start of his career, he designed houses for prominent local families, including the home of Mr. Jacob F. Schoellkopf (demolished). One of his most noteworthy designs was for the 106th Armory State Arsenal on Masten Avenue (since altered). At the time of its construction, it was the largest armory in the United States, and its design brought Metzger a great deal of local acclaim.(53) His other works included Buffalo Public Schools 44 and 13 and several buildings at the University of Buffalo.(54) Following his retirement in 1919, he organized the Metzger Construction Corporation. This was a large private construction company involved in building the Children's Hospital, the Mayflower Apartments and many schools in the area.(55) He was married to Emma Nuhn and together they raised six children at 200 Bidwell Parkway in Buffalo.(56)
The Queen Anne and Italianate style masonry building at 1 West Main Street is the earliest building in the Central Avenue Historic District, constructed around 1860. Early on, it changed hands between a number of Saloon and Restaurant owners. The upper two floors of the building were initially used as a hotel, but when Peter Link took over ownership in the late 1800s, the spaces were converted into apartments.(57) The roof was changed from a cross-gable roof to a mansard roof ca. 1890 to make room for the third floor to be converted into an opera house. However, use as an opera house was short lived, as it was soon overshadowed by Metzger's larger and more opulent opera house. The space was then used to hold various meetings, including those of the Temperance Society, the Lancaster Benevolent Association, and the Daughters of America.(58)
Originally there were two storefronts that were rented out separately, but they were combined into one store ca. 1950, when "The Sugar Bowl" expanded and it has since remained one store. (59) The three-story brick building at 5 West Main Street is the second earliest building in the district, constructed ca. 1880. It is possible that the first tenant of this building was M. Windling's Saloon and Restaurant, as well as an early butcher shop. The three-story brick Italianate commercial building at 16 Central Avenue, known both as the Raynor Exchange and later as the Braun building, was constructed on the site of the former Raynor Exchange building in 1894 to house Ernest Feyler's Buffalo Dry Goods Store. The store also had an early electric generator in the basement and it became the first building in the village to use electric lights. In 1897, Feyler signed a contract with the village to provide electricity to twenty streetlights in the village, and by 1900 power was expanded to provide electric lines to the entire village, overwhelming the generator. Ownership of the store was soon transferred to Frank F. Braun and Walter F. Adolf in the early twentieth century. The building currently is the home of the New York Store, which has been located in the building since 1956.
Earnest Feyler (September 19, 1869 - August 9, 1957) was a Buffalo native who first worked as a salesman for the Barnes-Bancroft Company. He opened the Buffalo Dry Goods Store and installed a dynamo at his store to light it, eventually expanding his power plant to supply power to the entire village. In 1902, he bought and served as the president of the Depew & Lancaster Light, Power & Conduit Company, which supplied power to the village. The company went on to serve nineteen towns and thirty-two communities. Feyler was also involved in the organization of several local banks. He was one of the founders and board members of the Bank of Lancaster and the South Side National Bank of Buffalo. He was the director of the Bank of Depew in 1919, Citizens National Bank in 1920, Ebenezer State Bank in 1921, and Liberty Bank in 1929. Additionally, Feyler was the director of Brott & Co. Investment Bankers, the Depew Finance Corp. and the Ebenezer Improvement Co. He was a member of the Lancaster Country Club and a 32nd Degree Mason. He resided in Lancaster with his wife, Katherine, and their two children.(60)
The building at 27 Central was first constructed around 1905 for Julius Israel, for use as a post office. This location served as the post office for several decades, until the present Lancaster Post Office (NR 1990), located outside the district boundary at 5064 Broadway Street, was erected in the 1938-9. Before the construction of 27 Central Avenue, the post office had previously been located in the Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House.(61) Once the post office was moved, Fanny Israel, wife of Julius, opened a ladies' clothing store in the building. Additionally, the building housed Mrs. Charles A. Schowten's candy store and Robert Humell's dentist office.
Julius Israel (1865-1948) was a prominent Lancaster merchant of one of the most highly regarded department stores in the village. He was born in Darkehmen, Germany in 1865, moved to Rochester in 1882 and settled in Lancaster in 1893, opening a store on West Main Street. By 1896, the store had become so successful that he moved it to 6 West Main Street, eventually expanding it to 8 and 4 West Main Street. (62) He sold his store in 1929 to Henry Kahn of the New York Store, formerly the Buffalo Dry Goods Store, at 1 West Main Street. Israel was a member of the Depew Lodge 823 F&AM, the Lancaster Elks, Ismailia Temple, AAONMs, Rotary, Odd Fellows, Moose and the Lancaster Fire Department. He was a well-known and well liked merchant in the village.(63) Israel married Fannie Marx, originally from Horden, Germany, in 1890, and they had five children.(64)
The building at 32 Central Avenue was built as a wagon and blacksmith shop owned by Albert Geyer (ca. 1865 January 8, 1913). Geyer was born in Alden, NY around 1865, of German decent. Geyer bought the Handel Blacksmith business ca. 1895 and ran it until his death. He was a member of the Lancaster Benevolent Association and lived with his wife and five children at 49 Central Avenue.(65)
The Cushing Block, located at 33-37 Central Avenue, was originally the location of Cushing's Drug Store. This three-story brick Italianate commercial building was constructed ca.1896 to replace the original Cushing Store, destroyed by the 1896 fire. Cushing's Drug Store supplied villagers with medicines and a variety of other products, including wine, liquor, tobacco, books, perfume, soaps; it also and had a soda fountain. Cushing's was highly regarded and was the recipient of awards from drug manufacturers for the high number of prescriptions filled. This allowed the store to be the first to receive newly developed medicines. Other businesses located in the Cushing Block included the Telephone Company, a tailor shop, a law office, a barber shop, a dentist, a beauty shop, and fraternal organizations, among many others. The building was renovated in 1925 and large additions were made to the rear elevations around 1955.
Cushing's Drug Store was founded in 1892 by Franklin S. Cushing (1864-1933). Cushing was a Wyoming, NY native who studied pharmacy at the University of Buffalo before relocating to Lancaster in 1892. Not only did he found Cushing's Drug Store, he sold sand, ice, insurance, real estate, was village postmaster and village clerk, a director of Ellicott Drug Company, and maintained a farm. The drug store's ownership remained in the family until the 1980s, when it became clear that there was not the same market for a privately owned drug store.(66)
The building at 34-36 Central Avenue was constructed at the site of the former Hoffeld and Co. Soap Factory, where the fire of 1896 began. The building was soon owned and operated by Frank T. Beeman and James Vandyck as a grocery and provisions store. By the 1920s it was a restaurant and store. Maurice J. Fitzgerald, owner of Fitzgerald–Knauber Men's clothing store at 24-26 Central Avenue, was a resident of the second story apartment in 1927. The Maute Block, located at 43 Central Avenue was built in 1896 to replace the original wood-frame Maute hardware store.(67) The store was originally owned by John N. Maute. The Mautes were a prominent family in Lancaster who owned and operated the Maute Iron Foundry, one of the early industries in Lancaster. The foundry, located on Holland Avenue between Plumb Bottom Creek and Broadway Street, was established in 1849 under different owners. Frank Maute purchased the foundry in 1859 and stayed in business until 1910, generally manufacturing agricultural tools and general castings. They also were responsible for manufacturing the iron sidewalks which once lined the streets of Lancaster. John N. Maute and his brothers were among some of the first employees of the Maute Foundry. John N. Maute's experience working in an iron foundry provided him with valuable skills and knowledge about tools, which proved useful in opening a successful hardware store.(68)
The building at 46-50 Central Avenue was originally the clubhouse of Lancaster's branch of the Improved Order of Red Men (I.O.R.M.). The I.O.R.M is America's oldest fraternal organization; beginning under a different name in 1765, it was organized as an underground society to promote freedom and liberty in the early colonies. The name of the organization was changed to the Improved Order of Red Men in 1835. Over time, it became a group dedicated to promoting freedom, friendship, and charity. The organization continued to expand and by the mid-1920s, there were "tribes" in forty-six states with a total of over 500,000 members. The Lancaster tribe of the Improved Order of Red Men owned the property when it was first constructed ca. 1927, and it remained in their hands until the Lancaster Lodge of Orioles bought the property in 1967. They owned it until 2000. The Potter-Eaton House at 40 Clark Street was originally located at 802 East Main Street (Broadway Street). It was built in 1894 to replace the home of Dr. Samuel Potter, which was destroyed in the fire of 1894. It remained at the original location on Broadway Street until the death of Fanny Potter Eaton, daughter of Dr. Potter. In 1940, the house was given to the town and moved to its present location to save it from demolition. The house was moved a very short distance to a lot behind town hall, almost directly behind its original location. The house was relocated from its site nearby on East Main Street, which was used for an A&P Supermarket. Following its relocation, the Potter-Eaton House served more civic functions, as the Lancaster Public Library from 1941-1976 and the Lancaster Senior Citizens Center from 1976-1983. To celebrate the town’s 150th anniversary in 1983, the building was used to house a museum operated by the Lancaster Historical Society, and this remains the present use.(69)
Dr. Samuel Potter (1816-June, 13 1897) was a prominent doctor in the village of Lancaster during the 1800s. The Vermont native first moved to Lancaster in 1839 and opened an office on the original site of the PotterEaton house. Dr. Potter was the superintendent of the Lancaster Public Schools for 15 years. He was married twice and had a daughter from each marriage. His younger daughter, Fanny Eaton, inherited the Potter-Eaton House at the time of Dr. Potter's death. Fanny lived in the house until her death in 1938.(70)
The commercial buildings of the Central Avenue Historic District had other businesses and business owners, demonstrating their versatility as markets changed over time. The Italianate building at 4 West Main Street was built to house Frank Schafer's Boots and Shoes Store and served as a dwelling on the 2nd and 3rd floors.71 Fitzgerald and Knauber Men's Clothing Store was originally at 24/26 Central Avenue and the upper apartment was home to the Cretekos family, owners of the Sugar Bowl, located at 1 West Main Street. The modest Queen Anne style building located at 30 Central Avenue was originally built as the dwelling and barbershop of Ralph and Rose May. The building at 31 Central Avenue was originally the firehouse; later it became a ladies' and children's clothing store and Charles Schleb's shoe store. The building at 34-36 Central Avenue was originally owned and operated by Frank T. Beeman and James Vandyck as a grocery and provisions store. The Bank of Lancaster was originally at 39-41 Central Ave, but by 1916 it became the offices of the Iroquois Natural Gas Company, directed by superintendent Peter Adolf. Cornelius T. Rohl's garage was located at 44 Central Avenue. The building at 4 West Main Street was built to house Frank Schafer's Boots and Shoes Store and was residential on the 2nd and 3rd floors.72 Other businesses included the Bank of Lancaster's later building at 25 Central Avenue and a grocer and clothing store at 34 Central Avenue.
The Central Avenue Historic District is significant under Criteria A and C as an intact and contiguous collection of primarily commercial architecture dating between ca. 1860 to ca. 1935 within the larger historic context of the Socioeconomic Growth and Maturity of the Village of Lancaster, 1850-1949, established in the MPDF. Located in the original commercial core of the village of Lancaster, the district represents a period of growth and prosperity for the commercial downtown in the decades surrounding the turn of the twentieth century, due to industrial growth and increasing ease of transportation, and is associated with prominent businesses, merchants, and citizens of Lancaster at the turn of the century. The district contains a grouping of mostly late nineteenth century and early twentieth century, 2- to 3-story masonry commercial buildings located within the village of Lancaster, Erie County, New York, roughly 11 miles east of Buffalo. The district covers an area of approximately 3.8 acres centered along Central Avenue, with a few properties on West Main Street and Clark Street, in the commercial center of the village. It forms the most intact historic commercial portion of a more substantial locally designated historic district in the village, which features a mix of residential and commercial buildings. Lancaster’s commercial corridor originally developed along West Main Street and Central Avenue to accommodate those traveling through the village, as well as serving the families of employees lured by the industrial development in and surrounding the community. However, a majority of original buildings within the district boundaries were lost in the 1890s as fires devastated the core commercial area. Over the course of the following 40 years, the commercial corridor was rebuilt and remains the focal point of the Village of Lancaster today. These then-new buildings were of brick construction and primarily represent a collection of commercial Italianate, Queen Anne, and Colonial Revival style buildings.
(6) Keysa, Lancaster, New York, 98.
(7) Harley E. Scott and Edward J. Mikula, Tales of Old Lancaster (Lancaster, NY: Cayuga Creek Press, 1981), 5.
(8) David L. Taylor, National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form: Historic and Architectural Resources of the Village of Lancaster, Erie County, New York, Taylor & Taylor Associates, Inc. (Waterford, NY: New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, 1999), section E, page 3.
(9) The name "Railroad Street" changed to "Central Avenue" ca.1890s.
(10) "Early History of Community," April 15, 1948. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
(11) Taylor, MPDF: Village of Lancaster, section E, 5.
(12) Ibid., section E, 4.
(13) Herbert J. Brinks, "Dutch Americans," Countries and Their Cultures.” http://www.everyculture.com/multi/Du-Ha/DutchAmericans.html.
(14) H. Perry Smith , ed., The History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers, Vol. I, (Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., 1884), 458.
(15) Taylor, MPDF: Village of Lancaster, section E, 4.
(16) Ibid., section E,3.
(17) Ibid, section E, 6.
(18) Ibid., section E, 6.
(19) Scott and Mikula, Tales of Old Lancaster, 49.
(20) Smith, History of Buffalo and Erie County, 459.
(21) Donald MacDavid, "Cushing's Drug Store," The Lancaster Legend: Newsletter of the Lancaster Historical Society 9, no. 2 (Summer 2002): 2.
(22) Mrs. E. Mosack's butcher shop at 524 Central Avenue once stood on what is now 10 Central Avenue. MacDavid, "Cushing's Drug Store," 2.
(23) The original Raynor Exchange building was located on the site of the current Raynor Exchange/Braun Building at 16 Central Avenue. The Potter House that remains today was rebuilt on the site of the earlier house, and moved to its current site within the district in 1940.
(24) The Lancaster/Depew Bee, "Out of the Past: Great Fire of 1894," April 14, 1994.
(25) The Hoffeld & Co. Soap Factory site is now the location of 34-36 Central Avenue.
(26) The former Maute Building and Cushing Building were located in the boundaries of the district.
(27) The Lancaster Times, "A Disastrous Fire!: A Portion of Central Avenue Swept by Flames," October 22, 1896.
(28) Taylor, MPDF: Village of Lancaster, section E, 7.
(29) 1880 WNY Business Directory, 259. Ibid., section E,7.
(30) Scott and Mikula, Tales of Old Lancaster, 48-50.
(31) Keysa, Lancaster, New York, 144.
(32) Ibid., 94.
(33) Ibid., 100.
(34) Taylor, MPDF: Village of Lancaster, section E, 8.
(35) Ibid., section E, 9.
(36) Richard Longstreth, The Buildings of Main Street: A Guide to American Commercial Architecture (Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2000), 15.
(37) Keysa, Lancaster, New York, 94.
(38) Taylor, MPDF: Village of Lancaster, section E, 9.
(39) Keysa, Lancaster, New York, 96.
(40) Taylor, MPDF: Village of Lancaster, section E, 9.
(41) Keysa, Lancaster, New York, IX.
(42) Ibid., X.. Although of local significance, many areas of the local historic district do not meet the standards for the National Register. The Central Avenue Historic District represents the largest, intact and contiguous enclave of commercial buildings that meet the National Register standards, within this larger, locally designated district.
(43) Ibid., XII.
(44) Taylor, MPDF: Village of Lancaster, section F, 6.
(45) " New York Main Street Awards," Funding History
(46) Longstreth, The Buildings of Main Street, 29-31.
(47) "Italianate in Buffalo: 1840-1885," Buffalo as an Architectural Museum. http://buffaloah.com/a/archsty/ital/index.html#era.
(48) The Lancaster Opera House/Town Hall also features elements of Queen Anne style with its asymmetrical facade and leaded glass transom at the main entry.
(49) Longstreth, The Buildings of Main Street, 39-40.
(50) Kossmar, Karen, "Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House," Buffalo as an Architectural Museum. http://buffaloah.com/a/bflobest/lancaster/lancaster.html.
(51) Lancaster Opera House, "Our History." http://www.lancopera.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&page_id=30.
(52) Kossmar, "Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House."
(53) Christopher N. Brown, "Historic Plymouth Avenue in the Kleinhans Neighborhood: A Survey of the History and Structures of Plymouth Avenue from Hudson Street to Porter Avenue in Buffalo, New York." http://buffaloah.com/a/plymouth/cb/129.pdf, 135.
(54) "George J. Metzger Rites Set Tuesday: Builder and Architect Dies After Heart Attack," The Buffalo News, December 9, 1929. http://buffaloah.com/a/archs/metz/index.html.
(55) "Metzger, George J." http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/architects/view/1827.
(56) Metzger was also a member of the National Guard for 30 years and retired as a colonel. He was a member of the American Institute of Architects and president of the Buffalo chapter two times. Metzger's many other affiliations included being a member of the Buffalo Club, the Buffalo Builders Exchange, the Buffalo chapter, Associated General Contractors, the Chamber of Commerce, the Automobile Club, the Concordia lodge of Masons, Keystone Chapter as a 33rd degree Mason, R.A.M., the Buffalo consistory, Lake Erie commandery, Knights Templar, and the Ismailia Temple, Brown, "Historic Plymouth Avenue," 135.
(57) Harley E. Scott, ed. Tales of Old West Main Street (Lancaster, NY: Cayuga Creek Press, 1998), 39.
(58) Keysa, Lancaster, New York, 98.
(59) Scott, Tales of Old West Main Street, 36.
(60) Buffalo Evening News, "Earnest Feyler Dies, Founded Twin Village Light & Power Co," August 9, 1957, 26.
(61) Jay Bee's Prominent Men of Lancaster Series, "Julius Israel, the Well Known and Popular Business Man of Lancaster," April 1, 1920. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
(62) "Julius Israel."
(63) "Pioneer Merchant Julius Israel Dies," June 10, 1948, 17. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
(64) "Julius Israel."
(65) "Albert Geyer," January 9, 1913. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
(66) MacDavid, "Cushing's Drug Store," 1-3.
(67) White, Truman C., ed., Our County and its People: A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York, Vol. 1, (Boston: Boston History Company, 1898), 572.
(68) Lancaster Enterprise, "A Glimpse Into The Past: The Iron Foundry," July 27, 1939.
(69) Keysa, Lancaster, New York, 96.
(70) Harley E. Scott, "History of the Fanny Potter-Eaton House and its Occupants," Lancaster Historical Society, 1-2.
(71) Scott, Tales of Old West Main Street, 10.
"Albert Geyer." January 9, 1913. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
Biographical Dictionary of Architects in Canada: 1800-1950. "Metzger, George J." http://dictionaryofarchitectsincanada.org/architects/view/1827.
Brinks, Herbert J. "Dutch Americans." Countries and Their Cultures. http://www.everyculture.com/multi/DuHa/Dutch-Americans.html.
Brown, Christopher N., "Historic Plymouth Avenue in the Kleinhans Neighborhood: A Survey of the History and Structures of Plymouth Avenue from Hudson Street to Porter Avenue in Buffalo, New York." Buffalo as an Architectural Museum. http://buffaloah.com/a/plymouth/cb/129.pdf.
Buffalo Courier-Express. "Officials Ready to Speed to Lancaster Cutoff Task." Sunday April 5, 1936, 4.
Buffalo Evening News. "Earnest Feyler Dies, Founded Twin Village Light & Power Co." August 9, 1957, 26.
The Buffalo News. "George J. Metzger Rites Set Tuesday: Builder and Architect Dies After Heart Attack." December 9, 1929. Buffalo as an Architectural Museum. http://buffaloah.com/a/archs/metz/index.html.
"Early History of Community." April 15, 1948. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
"Italianate in Buffalo: 1840-1885." Buffalo as an Architectural Museum. Last modified 2002. http://buffaloah.com/a/archsty/ital/index.html#era.
Jay Bee's Prominent Men of Lancaster Series. "Julius Israel, the Well Known and Popular Business Man of Lancaster." April 1, 1920. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
Keysa, James S., ed. Lancaster, New York: Architecture and History. Lancaster, NY: Village of Lancaster Historic District Commission, 2007.
Kossmar, Karen. "Lancaster Town Hall and Opera House." Buffalo as an Architectural Museum. http://buffaloah.com/a/bflobest/lancaster/lancaster.html.
"Out of the Past: Business District of Lancaster in Ruins." The Lancaster/Depew Bee. March 31, 1994. 5.
"Out of the Past: Great Fire of 1894." The Lancaster/Depew Bee. April 14, 1994.
"Out of the Past: Great Fire of 1894." The Lancaster/Depew Bee. April 21, 1994.
"A Glimpse Into The Past: The Iron Foundry." Lancaster Enterprise. July 27, 1939.
Lancaster Opera House. "Our History." History. Last modified 2010. Accessed April 24, 2014. http://www.lancopera.org/index.cfm?fuseaction=page.display&page_id=30.
The Lancaster Times "A Disastrous Fire!: A Portion of Central Avenue Swept by Flames." October 22, 1896.
Longstreth, Richard. The Buildings of Main Street: A Guide to American Commercial Architecture. Lanham, MD: AltaMira Press, 2000.
MacDavid, Donald. "Cushing's Drug Store." The Lancaster Legend: Newsletter of the Lancaster Historical Society 9, no. 2 (Summer 2002).
New York State Homes & Community Renewal. " New York Main Street Awards." Funding History. Last modified May 7, 2012. Accessed June 6, 2014. http://www.nyshcr.org/Programs/NYMainStreet/FundingHistory.htm.
"Pioneer Merchant Julius Israel Dies." June 10, 1948. 17. (Clipping from Lancaster Historical Society Files)
Scott, Harley E., ed. Tales of Old West Main Street. Lancaster, NY: Cayuga Creek Press, 1998.
Scott, Harley E., and Edward J. Mikula. Tales of Old Lancaster. Lancaster, NY: Cayuga Creek Press, 1981.
Scott, Harley E. "History of the Fanny Potter-Eaton House and its Occupants." Lancaster Historical Society.
Smith, H. Perry, ed. The History of the City of Buffalo and Erie County: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Vol. 1. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co., 1884.
Taylor, David L. National Register of Historic Places Multiple Property Documentation Form: Historic and Architectural Resources of the Village of Lancaster, Erie County, New York. Taylor & Taylor Associates, Inc. Waterford, NY: New York State Office of Parks Recreation and Historic Preservation, 1999.
"Victorian Style." Buffalo as an Architectural Museum. Accessed April 11, 2014. http://buffaloah.com/a/DCTNRY/v/vic.html#Victorian.
White, Truman C., Ed. Our County and its People: A Descriptive Work on Erie County, New York. Vol. 1. Boston: Boston History Company, 1898.
- Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps for the Village of Lancaster: 1885, 1892, 1897, 1904, 1911, 1923, 1923-1949
- Atlases: 1866 Stone and Steward Atlas, 1880 Beers Atlas, 1909 Century Map Co. Atlas
- Directories: 1880 Western New York Gazetteer & Business Directory, 1902-03 Johnson's Business and Professional Directory of Buffalo, Rochester, Erie, Niagara Falls, Lockport, Tonawanda, Batavia, Hamburg, Dunkirk, Williamsville, Geneva, Lyons, Canandaigua, and Lancaster, N.Y.
- Files of the Lancaster Historical Society
- Historic Resource Inventory Forms from 1986 and 2009
- Login to edit this profile and add images.
- Public Comments: Login to post. (Best for messages specifically directed to those editing this profile. Limit 20 per day.)