The core of central Lancaster remains largely comprised of architecture dating from the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries. Because this area was densely settled by the late 1800s, most twentieth-century development took place at the western and eastern edges of the City's boundaries.
In the City's northeast section, the area surrounding Ross and Clay Streets contains vestiges of late nineteenth-century real estate development. In contrast to the more random growth within the Ross/Clay neighborhood, the McGrann Park neighborhood, east of North Plum Street, is the result of a unified planning effort initiated in 1907. The 25-acre McGrann Park was used in the late 1800s as a race track and county fair grounds. The tract was sold to the McGrann's Park Development Company and may represent Lancaster's first "planned" suburban development of middle-class residences. Following the success of the new McGrann Park neighborhood, the adjacent Grandview Park area developed gradually over the next several decades leading up to World War II.
The development of Lancaster's West End after 1900, meanwhile, can be attributed to a general westward expansion of the city's population. Marietta Avenue became a "status" neighborhood after the 1890s, with the influence of new trolley lines circa 1895-1910, and the impact of the automobile soon afterwards. Houses in this area reflect diverse early twentieth-century architectural styles, including many revival styles. Houses found on Buchanan and Race Avenues, and West Clay and State Streets, include Tudor, Georgian, Colonial and Spanish Revivals and American Four Squares. With broad tree-lined streets and deep lawns, these neighborhoods reflect the growing suburban movement unfolding throughout the United States during this period.
Go to the section on Lancaster Architectural Styles to read about the typical characteristics of eleven common architectural styles, including Georgian and Federal.
Among the City's most prominent twentieth-century landmarks:
- Griest Building, 8 North Queen Street (1925)
- Shaub's Shoe Store, 20 North Queen Street (1929)
- Pennsylvania Railroad Station, McGovern Avenue (1929)
- J.P McCaskey High School, North Franklin and Reservoir Streets (1938)