100 South Queen Street
Built in 1888 in the Queen Anne Style, this building displays ornamental terra cotta and decorative brickwork, and is anchored by two pyramidal tower. Closed as a market in 1986, the building now houses City Council Chambers. The building was designed by Lancaster architect C. Emlen Urban.
C. Emlen Urban, Lancaster’s Native Architect
No study of architectural history in Lancaster would be complete without mention of the City’s first professional native architect, C. Emlen Urban. Urban was one of the most important figures to shape the look of the City of Lancaster from the last quarter of the nineteenth century through the first three decades of the twentieth century. His designs are as varied as the types of buildings he worked on. His commissions touched every aspect of city life, ranging from private residences to civic and commercial buildings, banks, schools, churches, office buildings, industrial buildings, hospital buildings, hotels, markethouses and Lancaster’s first skyscraper. As he matured, his designs embraced architectural styles as diverse as Queen Anne, Beaux Arts, and Colonial Revival. His work forms a bridge between the Victorian Era and the Modern Age. During his own lifetime, Urban’s cosmopolitan designs lent a sophisticated look to Lancaster. Today, his buildings are timeless contributions to our urban architectural heritage. How appropriate that such a forward-thinking man in the life of the City was himself named “Urban.”
Cassius Emlen Urban was born in Conestoga Township in 1863. After graduating from Lancaster’s Boys’ High School, he apprenticed as a draftsman at a firm in Scranton before returning to Lancaster. Urban died in Lancaster on May 21, 1939.
Learn more about Urban’s architectural legacy through a 53-page booklet, To Build Strong and Substantial: The Career of C. Emlen Urban. The booklet examines more than forty-five examples of Urban’s work that survive within the City of Lancaster, as well as seven demolished landmarks. In addition to historical background and an architectural description of each building, the booklet includes a labeled site map so readers can trace the progression of Urban’s career through a self-guided walking or driving tour.
Publication of this booklet was supported by a grant from the Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission.