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Full text of "West Fourth Street story"

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THE JUNIOR LEAGUE 
OF WILLIAMSPORT, 
INC. 



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The West 
Fourth Street 
Story 




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Present Property Owners 

Four Hundred and Five Mr. and Mrs. Albino Ferrari 

Four Hundred and Seven Mr. Duane Stegman 

Four Hundred and Eleven Miss Sarah K. Snyder 

Five Hundred and Twenty-two Susquehanna Group 

Five Hundred and Twenty-eight Susquehanna Group 

Five Hundred and Thirty-one L. C. Myers, R. F. Eberhart, R. F. Schramm 

West Fourth Street Corp. 

Five Hundred and Thirty-five Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. D'Addio 

Six Hundred and Thirty-four Bishop of Scranton in Trust for Parish 

Six Hundred and Thirty-nine Harry Georges 

Seven Hundred and Seven Bishop of Scranton in Trust for Parish 

Seven Hundred and Eleven Homer Groce 

Weightman Block McLaughlin, Smith, Mann, Patterino 

Park Home The Park Home Incorporated 

Eight Hundred and Twenty-nine Donald R. Bastian 

Eight Hundred and Thirty-five McCormick, Lynn, Nichols, Reeder & Sarno 

Nine Hundred and One Dr. and Mrs. George A. Durrwachter 

Nine Hundred and Four Mr. and Mrs. Earl O. Ohnmeiss 

Nine Hundred and Twelve Mr. and Mrs. Ralph S. Clinger, Jr. 

Nine Hundred and Fifteen Misses Lillian and Emilie Harrar 

Nine Hundred and Twenty-one Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Masters 

Nine Hundred and Forty-two Mrs. Margaret A. Newcomer 

Nine Hundred and Forty-four Mr. and Mrs. Thomas E. Harris, Jr. 

Nine Hundred and Fifty -one Estate of Mrs. Alice Gibson Voelkler 

Ten Hundred and Five Mr. and Mrs. Harold L. Hurwitz 

Ten Hundred and Twenty-two Miss Martha Mussina 

Ten Hundred and Twenty-five. Mr. and Mrs. B. C. Rothfuss 

Ten Hundred and Twenty-eight Mr. and Mrs. John W. Kranz 

Ten Hundred and Fifty-one Mr. and Mrs. Dominic J. Santalucia 

JAMES V. BROWN LtBHARY 
WILLIAMSPORT. FBWAr 

©The Junior League of Williamsport, Inc. 1975 

Printed by Grit Publishing Company 
Williamsport, Pennsylvania 

Library of Congress Catalogue Number 75-1672 

First Edition Limited to 1,000 Copies 
of which this is Number *j (p 



DEDICATION 

We dedicate this book to the home owners of 
the "great thoroughfare" . . . past, present 
and future . . . whose lives carve the Heritage 
of West Fourth Street. 




Reference Department 



This material 
does not 
circulate 



317504 



Acknowledgemen ts 



The Junior League of Williamsport, Incorporated is proud to publish this historic 
edition of The West Fourth Street Story. The interest of the general public and the 
enthusiastic community response to the League's lecture and slide series prompted the 
publication of this book. Those originally involved in the formulation of the slide lecture 
include: Mrs. Allan N. Young, Jr., Mrs. Charles M. Snyder, Mrs. Lewis M. Soars, Mrs. 
Marshall Welch, Mrs. Charles R. Stearns, Mrs. C. Welsh Hartman, and Mrs. Henry G. 
Hager, 3rd. 

The property sites were selected on the basis of their relationship to the lumbering 
era, resident personalities, architectural significance and their location on "Millionaires' 
Row", West Fourth Street. The property owners are to be given generous thanks for 
opening their homes to be photographed and themselves to be interviewed. The 
cooperation and encouragement of so many residents within the community have made 
this edition a reality. Without the assistance of all interested persons the committee would 
not have been able to proceed with the publication. As progress is being made to preserve 
current historic structures, we have included several by-gone landmarks. These pages 
were made possible by the preservation of valuable photographs and memorabilia saved 
by many local historians. 

There are others who are to be commended for their efforts. 

Mrs. Thomas Marble for her current photographs and reproductions of historical 
photographs and documents. 

Samuel Dornsife whose historical knowledge of Williamsport, its homes and 
residents, clarified much of our printed material. 

Jonathon G. Phillips for his professional assistance in editing our script. 

Andrew Grugan and Members of the Staff of the Lycoming County Historical 
Museum for their endless hours of patience and research. 

To the entire Staff of the James V. Brown Library Reference Room and the 
Pennsylvania Room for their untiring cooperation. 

Grit Publishing Company for their guidance and encouragement. 

The Sun-Gazette Publishing Company for providing historic articles from their files. 

Dr. June Baskin, James Wither and Timothy Bishop and the Williamsport Area High 
School and the photography department for their technical and material help. 

Vannucci Foto Services for pictures of Rowley House interiors. 

Mr. and Mrs. Robert W. Edler for their vast supply of memorabilia. 

Mrs. James S. Griffith for valuable typing of the script. 

Mrs. J. Carl Baier for her artistic cover design. 

Everett Rubendall and the WRAK Radio Station for historic background material. 

To all those of the Bureau of Codes in City Hall. 

To all of those in the Register and Recorder Office of the Lycoming County Court 
House. 

We hope that through our efforts you will enjoy this book and its historical contents. 

The Editors 

Barbara Griffith Ertel (Mrs. John C.) 

Joann Carl Ertel (Mrs. James R.) 

Nancy Baier Gilbert (Mrs. James F.) 

Andree Pineau Fenstamaker (Mrs. Richard L.) 

Sue Fenstamaker Young (Mrs. John M.) 



Table of Contents 



Page 

Four Hundred and Seven-P. Herdic 7 

First Baptist Church 9 

Four Hundred and Five-A. D. Hermance 11 

Four Hundred and Eleven-L. M. Ulman 12 

Five Hundred and Twenty-two-H. R. Rhoads 13 

Five Hundred and Twenty-eight-} . M. McMinn 15 

Five Hundred and Thirty-one-F . E. Embick 16 

Five Hundred and Thirty-five-W . V. Emery 17 

Six Hundred and Twenty-H. C. McCormick 18 

Six Hundred and Thirty-nine-A. Laedlein 19 

The Church of The Annunciation 20 

Six Hundred and Thirty-four-H. B. Smith 22 

Seven Hundred and Seven-E. A. Rowley 23 

Seven Hundred and Eleven-E. Deemer 26 

Herdic Block (Weightman Block)-?. Herdic 27 

Herdic House (Park Home)-P. Herdic 28 

Eight Hundred and Fifteen-M. L. Fisher 32 

Eight Hundred and Twenty-nine-H. C. Parsons 33 

Eight Hundred and Thirty-five-W. Emery 34 

Trinity Episcopal Church 37 

Eight Hundred and Fifty-eight-}. W. Maynard 39 

Corner of Fourth and Maynard Streets-R. Faries 40 

Nine Hundred and One-H. Johnson 41 

Nine Hundred and Four-H. C. Taylor 43 

Nine Hundred and Twelve-H. M. Foresman 44 

Nine Hundred and Fifteen-L. J. R. Eutermarks 46 

Nine Hundred and Twenty-one-Lyon Family 47 

Nine Hundred and Forty-two-Forty-four-P. Herdic 49 

Nine Hundred and Fifty-one-R. M. Foresman 50 

Ten Hundred and Five-]. E. Goodrich 52 

Ten Hundred and Twenty-two-C. C. Mussina 54 

Ten Hundred and Twenty-five-}. G. Reading 55 

Ten Hundred and Twenty-eight-W . Sipe 56 

Ten Hundred and Fifty-one-W. E. Howard 58 



INTRODUCTION 

The West Fourth Street Story begins in the superb forests of pine and hemlock 
which once clothed all the watershed of the West Branch Valley and the "Long 
Reach" 1 in the Susquehanna. Lumber created Williamsport's initial prosperity, 
and when that prosperity was at its peak during the last half of the 19th Century, 
more millionaires were said to be living on West Fourth Street than resided on 
any other street of similar length in the world. 2 

That West Fourth Street developed as "Millionaires' Row" was a direct result 
of the foresight, intelligence, and ambition of one man, Peter Herdic. Herdic 
settled in Williamsport in 1853 and began his purchase of land with five acres 
known as the Grove Lot for which he paid $5,000. Eventually, after securing the 
Woodward and Maynard farms, he was to own most of Fourth Street west of 
Hepburn Street. Much of the land was swampy and required draining and filling 
to make it suitable for building. In the area Herdic was to develop, he planned 
a hotel (which was to become the center of the social life of the day), a gas works 
to provide illumination, a row of offices adjacent to the railroad station, a 
complete business block, and locations for three places of worship. 

An astute businessman, Herdic gave the railroad their right-of-way through 
Williamsport and land for the Walnut Street yards in return for a ninety-nine year 
agreement that the main station would be on a site of Herdic's choosing — next 
to his hotel. As the existing business district was a mile from the hotel, Herdic 
established a horse-drawn streetcar line to travel Fourth Street from Market Street 
at a fare of three cents. 

Herdic wisely enlisted the exceptional talents of Eber Culver as architect for 
most of his projects. 

Not only did Herdic create a residential area for the wealthy on Fourth Street, 
requiring that each home be set twenty to thirty feet from the property line thus 
insuring a fine perspective for viewing the mansions, but he also provided both 
lots and structures on surrounding streets to house the people and businesses 
necessary for the support of the life style found on Millionaires' Row. 

It was Peter Herdic who was instrumental in gaining the city charter in 1866, 
and by fantastic manipulation had Newberry annexed without the residents of 
that area being aware of it until after the feat was accomplished. In the fall of 1869 
he was elected the fourth mayor of Williamsport. 

Although his fortunes rose and fell, as did many during lumbering's "gilded 
age", the effects of his planning for West Fourth Street are visible today. The lofty 
spire of Trinity Episcopal Church, the impressive Park Home, and a fine 
residential avenue remain as monuments to the genius of Peter Herdic. 



1 The area from Linden to Halls Station. 

2 The explosive quality of Williamsport's early expansion can be seen in the arrival of six major railroad lines 
and in the tripling of population within the decade from 1860 to 1870. 




Peter Herdic. 



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PETiR HERDIC, 



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Four Hundred and Seven 

When Peter Herdic settled in Williamsport with his wife, Amanda, there were 
very few homes available. He made contact with Eber Culver and together they 
designed and built the first of many elaborate mansions on West Fourth Street. 
Herdic's home was a fine example of Italian Villa architecture. Set well back from 
the street, it was a spacious home with great side yards. It was surrounded with 
intricate wrought iron fence and the yard had a fountain amid the lush shrubbery. 

The four lower porches had "Egyptian Lotus" columns, the lower portion of 
the columns having grooves and leaf-like outward curls. The capitals were similar 
to the Corinthian style, but not as heavily adorned with acanthus leaves. The flat 
overhanging roof with carved bracketed eaves and the large square cupola are 
visible from the side and rear, but the ornament which once rose above the cupola 
has been removed. Many small terra cotta chimney pots can still be seen. Most 
of the original doors and windows retain their ornate moldings. 




After Amanda Herdic died, Peter married Encie Elizabeth Maynard, daughter 
of John W. Maynard. It has been said that Encie was one of the most brilliant and 
cultured women in Williamsport and that she added both grace and beauty to 
Herdic's home and life. She filled their home with handsome furnishings and 
from his abundant means, provided guests with gaiety and lavish hospitality. 
One chair from the Herdic parlor has found its way to the Lycoming County 
Historical Society. 

This residence has been home to Nathaniel Burrows Bubb, Charles D. Wolfe, 
the Tall Cedars (a social Club), and Mrs. Louise M. Plankenhorn. It is currently 
owned by Duane Stegman. Mutual of Omaha's office protrudes into the once 
spacious front yard. 




Present day side entrance. 




The First Baptist Church 



The First Baptist Church of Williamsport officially came into existence at a 
meeting in a small, dingy room in the old Williamsport Court House on December 
17, 1854. Among the sixteen present were Amanda Herdic and her father, Foster 
Taylor. After several unsuccessful attempts to find a suitable place of worship, 
the congregation agreed to accept a swampy building lot previously offered to 
them by Peter Herdic, who, although he was not a member of the church, 
appreciated his wife's religious activity. The lot was to be given only if they would 
agree to build thereon a "first-rate" house of worship. The deed included a clause 
stating that the lot would revert to the heirs of Herdic should it cease to be used 
for religious purposes. 

The first structure erected on the northwest corner of Elmira and Fourth 
Streets was a small white wooden church with a lofty spire, designed and 
constructed by Eber Culver, who was an architect, builder, and active member 
of the church. 1 

As Williamsport expanded, Fourth Street changed from a dusty dirt road past 
scattered farm houses to a bustling cobbled thoroughfare past the beautiful homes 
of lumber barons. Growth came to First Baptist Church, too, and they began to 
expand by purchasing two lots to the north of the church. 2 

1 The church had been constructed according to the traditional style of that period. The main entrance at the 
base of the tower faced Fourth Street and a curved pebble walk led in from the street. Here, on a Sunday 
morning, large black carriages pulled by two or four beautiful prancing horses would discharge their 
passengers. After entering the front hall, church members turned to either side to climb the winding, heavily- 
carpeted stairways which led to the hall above. From this hall they could look down upon a beautiful picture 
of ladies in bustled dresses and plumed hats, entering the church on the floor below. 

From the second floor hall, three doors led into the church sanctuary. A center aisle, bordered on each side 
by white pews with dark mahogany railings and red cushions, led up to the pulpit. Stalls on either side faced 
the platform and were known as the "amen corners". Members of the congregation had their assigned pews 
for which they paid "rent" or "dues". 3 

2 One faced Elmira Street with a three-story building on it, the home of the Williamsport Hospital. The Kelly 
property was on the corner of Elmira and Edwin Streets. 



Culver drew plans for a chapel at the corner of Edwin and Elmira Streets, to 
be erected immediately; and a new church auditorium, to be erected at Fourth 
and Elmira Streets at a later time. The chapel was completed in 1894. The floods 
of 1889 and 1894 damaged the wooden floor joists and posts of the original church 
so severely that it had to be razed in 1898. In order to prevent any questions 
regarding the conditions in their deed from Herdic, the congregation immediately 
laid the foundations of their new church as specified by Culver. They constructed 
a platform over the foundations and conducted outdoor vesper services with 
band or orchestra on pleasant summer evenings. Disappointed by the estimated 
cost of building to Culver's plan, the church adopted a new set of plans prepared 
by Mr. Denison, of Denison and Hiron, for a less expensive ediface. 

In 1914 the new First Baptist Church on Fourth Street was dedicated. It is 
beautifully constructed of native mountain stone in the Romanesque style. The 
Byzantine decoration of the interior features quartered oak, open truss work, 
wooden ceilings, wainscoting, a superb carving of symbolic eagles by William 
Dittmar, and windows of antique leaded glass by Young and Bonawitz. 

In 1911, prior to the completion of the Church, memorial services were held 
for Eber Culver, who had created so much that is beautiful for his church and his 
city. 

In 1954 the church was carefully renovated, providing a divided chancel, each 
change conforming perfectly to the decor of the church. 

"Thus the church stands, on the corner of Fourth and Elmira 
Streets, today. Noiv, having served the past, it is prepared to 
serve the future." 3 



3 "One Hundred Years of Christian Service to the Community" 
Williamsport, Pa. 



-booklet published by the First Baptist Church, 




M 






Four Hundred and Five 

When financial difficulties beset Herdic, the side yards of his home were sold 
as building lots. The corner to the east was purchased by Albert DuBois 
Hermance, who had founded Rowley and Hermance (later Hermance Machine 
Company) which manufactured woodworking machinery. In 1885, Eber Culver 
designed and built this red-roofed, three story castle-like stone home in 
Richardsonian-Romanesque style. 

The outstanding feature of the Hermance House is the beautiful wooden hand 
carving by Giovanni Ferrari. The doors and staircase still approximate their 
original condition, although the building has been extensively altered to 
accommodate eleven apartments. The dining room alone was converted into two 
apartments. 

Additional wood carving is the work of William Dittmar, who studied the 
work of Ferrari and carved the signs above the door identifying the apartments 
as belonging to the present owner, Al Ferrari. 

This home is featured in the book "Homes and Heritage of the West Branch 
Valley." 

ll 




Four Hundred and Eleven 



The west side yard of the Herdic residence was purchased in 1878 by Lemuel 
M. Ulman, son of Moses Ulman, who had established M. Ulman Sons store in 
1856. The majestic brownstone and brick home built for the Ulman family 
illustrates late Victorian influence, as it was designed by Eber Culver approx- 
imately thirty years after he did the Herdic residence. 

Immediately inside the entry, this mansion features beautiful double doors 
with magnificent beveled, leaded glass, opening into an oak-wainscoted hallway 
which once led to parlors, living and dining rooms, a library, and the kitchen. 

When the home was purchased in 1936 by the present owner, Miss Sarah K. 
Snyder, she fortunately acquired with the home several unique pieces of 
furniture, including a Greener Concert Grand piano and a hand-carved oak 
dining room suite which was designed specifically for the house. The furniture 
features delicately carved "griffins" 1 showing the influence of mythology on late 
Victorian era furnishings. 

The home contains many of the original gas light fixtures and a functional 
sentry system. The tower rooms on each floor provide a panoramic view of history 
passing on West Fourth Street. In addition to being the residence of the owner, 
this home contains commercial offices and three apartments. 

•An animal, half lion, half eagle, which was sacred to the sun and supposedly guarded gold and hidden treasure. 





One of the hand-carved oak 
"griffins" on the sideboard. 



The colors and theme of this stained glass Window are 
repeated in several other windows throughout the home. 



12 



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Fiz?e Hundred and Twenty-Two 

Like so many others, Hiram Rhoads came to Williamsport in the midst of the 
lumber boom. He quickly became one of the city's most successful businessmen. 
Rhoads labored to introduce the telephone to the area, and in 1879 he succeeded 
in establishing the second exchange in Pennsylvania (the first being in Erie). 
Rhoads had the first telephone installed in his residence on Third Street and 
within a year had organized the Central Pennsylvania Telephone and Supply 
Company, of which he was President. Although best remembered for his work 
with the telephone, he was also instrumental in founding and developing several 
of the electric enterprises. 

In the late 1880's, Hiram Rhoads employed the genius of Eber Culver to design 
his residence. Through the years that have followed, this home has been 
structurally unaltered. Although it was made into apartments, the interior is still 
in excellent condition. 

The front door and entry way display beautiful stained glass of a most unusual 
design. Handcarved mahogany wainscoting and a winding stairway dominate 
the large center hall. All the hardware in the main part of the house is gilded 
bronze. The original chandeliers were among the most magnificent in Williams- 
port. The flooring in the living room is solid pecan, which presents an interesting 
contrast to the dark, rich mahogany fireplace. 

13 




The exquisite pattern of this interior hardware is repeated throughout the home. 




Mahogany bathtub and wainscoting. 

The second floor had four bedrooms, each containing a marble washbowl and 
a large fireplace. The main bathroom still utilizes the original wooden bathtub 
which was one of the first in Williamsport. 

The owners have shown foresight in preserving the beauty and charm of this 
fine example of Queen Anne architecture. Culver, in his autobiography, says that 
he felt his Queen Anne style designs were the most successful of his career, and 
this and the Rowley house would certainly support such an opinion. 

14 




Five Hundred and Twenty-Eight 

A simple frame home with an expansive front porch was the home of Mr. and 
Mrs. John M. McMinn and their seven children. Shortly after the last child was 
born, the McMinn family moved into this newly built home at the northeast 
corner of Locust and Fourth Streets. 

McMinn had come to Williamsport in 1853 and worked as a first assistant to 
Robert Faries, then the chief engineer for the construction of the Sunbury and Erie 
Railroad. McMinn served as city engineer and made the first lithograph map of 
Williamsport, which was published in 1857. In 1860, he and the Rev. Cyrus 
Jeffries published the first edition of the West Branch Bulletin, forerunner of the 
Gazette and Bulletin, now the Sun-Gazette. McMinn had business dealings with 
Peter Herdic and surveyed the land for Wildwood Cemetery. 

When McMinn moved south, his home was purchased by Benjamin C. 
Bowman, one of the first men to float logs from Centre County via the 
Susquehanna River into Williamsport. Bowman was recognized as one of the 
most prominent lumber operators in the Susquehanna Valley. He was at one time 
president of the Susquehanna Boom Company, president of Lycoming Rubber 
Company, and vice-president of Lumberman's National Bank. He was affiliated 
with B. C. Bowman and Company and with Bowman and Foresman Lumber 
Company. 

After the flood of 1889, the home was completely remodeled in the then avant- 
garde Colonial Revival style. The central third floor dormer is decorated with 
Ionic columns, scroll pediment, and a fan topped window. The second story 
fascia board is adorned with garlands and protected by the wide eaves. Here, and 
again on the first floor level, are the Ionic columns inviting attention to the 
doorway or the oval leaded glass window. 

Henry S. Mosser, of J.K. Mosser and Company, local tanners, purchased the 
home in 1917. His family lived there until 1955, when a group of physicians 
bought the property to convert to offices. The Susquehanna Group's common 
waiting room was once the grand entry hall with an extra wide staircase, which 
since has been removed. This waiting room has all of the original paneling and 
molding and a lovely fireplace. The arched brick alcove for the old cooking range 
is now a work area for laboratory technicians. The front porch has been enclosed 
to provide more office space. 

15 




Five Hundred and Thirty-One 



Like many of its neighbors, this brick and frame home was designed by Eber 
Culver. It was built about 1880, for the Col. Frederick E. Embick family and has 
always been known as "Embick Cottage." Col. Embick was with Company A, 
"The Woodward Guards", of the Eleventh Regiment during the Civil War. 

In 1892, Embick was a director of the Demorest Manufacturing Company of 
Williamsport, which, during that year, manufactured an average of fifty sewing 
machines daily, opera chairs and "New York" racing bicycles. 

In the early 1900"s, the Embick family moved to New York City, and the home 
was purchased by Joseph B. Rhoads. Mrs. Rhoads' brother, an architect, and her 
mother, Mrs. Catherine Harris, also lived in the home. Mrs. Harris lived to be 
100 years old in her own apartment on the third floor. 

The beautiful entrance boasts panels of hand-carved flowers and leaves on the 
front door, and opaque, pink, lavender, and purple leaded stained glass 
windows. Inside, a massive dark oak stairway rises to the third floor. The main 
chandeliers and sidelights have been moved to a private residence. 

One unique feature of this lovely home is the master's bathroom which has 
an exceptionally deep tub built-in with dark oak wainscoting identical to the rest 
of the room. 

The present owners purchased the home from Mrs. Joseph Rhoads in 1951. 
Although now used as a commercial building, the original lines and the 
ornamentation have been retained inside and out. 

16 



Five Hundred and Thirty-Five 



William V. Emery had Eber Culver design this handsome brick and cut stone 
home at 535 West Fourth Street in 1865. Emery was an associate of the Emery 
Lumber Company on West Third Street, which maintained a retail business for 
coal, ice, and lumber. Many retail lumber companies cut ice from the river in the 
winter and stored it in sawdust. On any warm day it was a special delight for 
children to chase the ice wagons, hoping to sneak a frozen sliver of the pure 
Susquehanna water. The Emery Lumber Company was subsequently purchased 
by the Lundy Lumber Company. 

The Emery's youngest child, Eugene M., continued with the family business 
and lived in the family home, as did his son. Mrs. Eugene Emery, Jr., had the 
home changed into five apartments after the Depression. The apartments are so 
well designed around the beautiful front stairway and curving rear stairs that it 
is hard to believe it was ever a one-family home. 

535 was purchased in 1966, by the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Michael J. 
D'Addio, who are maintaining it as an apartment house. 




17 



Six Hundred and Twenty 



The Honorable Henry Clay McCormick, attorney, and his wife, Ida Hays, 
lived and entertained in this elegant home with its ballroom on the third floor. 
Stories of gala parties with politically and socially prominent people of Pennsylva- 
nia still linger around Williamsport. 

McCormick was one of the seven children born to Seth T. and Ellen Miller 
McCormick, also of West Fourth Street. At twenty-five, he was elected solicitor 
of Williamsport, and his career continued with activity in both local and national 
politics. McCormick was involved in organizing the Cochran, Payne, and 
McCormick banking house, Edison Electric Illuminating Company, and in 1892, 
he was elected president of the Williamsport and North Branch Railroad 
Company. 

Henry Clay McCormick, a local attorney and grandson of the McCormick's, 
fondly recalls the traditional family meals at this home on Thanksgiving and 
Christmas when the food came on endlessly. Being a child, he was always 
delighted to notice when someone would leave after the first course to run to 
Steinbacker's on the 500 block of West Third Street for the ice cream for dessert. 

This lovely home was named the Ida Hays McCormick Welfare Center in 
the late 1930's, when it was donated for that purpose after the death of Mrs. 
McCormick. When the welfare center opened, it contained offices and conference 
rooms for the Red Cross, Crippled Children's Society, State Chest Clinic, Social 
Services Bureau, Confidential Exchange, Lycoming County Tuberculosis Society, 
Children's Aid Society, and the Junior League of Williamsport. 

Although 620 West Fourth Street was demolished for the Lycoming County 
Crippled Children's Society Playground, the carriage house of the McCormick 
mansion still serves as the home of the Society. 




1 ■ &&£&s&BEsis 



18 



F 




Six Hundred and Thirty-Nine 

The home and business of Auguste Laedlein were housed in this delightful 
brick building (probably designed by Culver, for it closely resembles its 
neighbors) at the corner of West Fourth and Walnut Streets. 

Encouraged by his uncle to take advantage of the opportunities occasioned by 
the rapid growth of "Millionaires' Row", Auguste Laedlein and his father left 
France (where Auguste had mastered the finest in culinary art) and arrived in 
Williamsport ready to establish a catering shop. They chose property which 
would enable them to deliver easily to the well-to-do residents of Fourth Street. 

Their building contained family living quarters on the second floor and a 
lovely iced cream parlor complete with marble-topped tables and ceiling fans on 
the main floor. The Laedleins enclosed their side yard with a high board fence 
and provided small tables and chairs where their customers could enjoy 
homemade iced cream and cake in a lovely outdoor garden setting. 

Laedlein's business grew rapidly and soon he was catering not only to Fourth 
Street patrons but to weddings and parties throughout the area. Mayonnaise 
created "drop by drop" was one of his most famous specialties. 

The building has changed hands, but has never undergone any exterior 
structural remodeling. With the exception of defacing paint and signs, the 
Auguste Laedlein shop stands very much as it stood when created by the 
Laedleins in 1886. 

19 



The Church of the Annunciation 

Although he was an Episcopalian and his wife a Baptist, Peter Herdic donated 
the land at the corner of West Fourth and Walnut Streets to the Church of the 
Annunciation. For eleven years, English-speaking and German-speaking Catho- 
lics had worshipped together in a small frame structure, now the site of St. 
Boniface Church. The Parish of Annunciation originated in 1865 when the sixteen 
English-speaking families left St. Boniface to worship in rented quarters known 
as Doebler's Hall on West Third Street. Annunciation's first church building 
was a brick structure on West Edwin Street where the western half of St. Joseph's 
School now stands. 

In May, 1886, the foundation of Annunciation was begun and work continued 
for three years with few interruptions until, stone by stone, the present handsome 
and imposing ediface was finished. Amos Wagner designed the $67,000 project. 

The building is constructed of conglomerate rock and sandstone, quarried at 
Ralston, and it is pretty stone, well suited to its purpose. The exterior of this 
Romanesque structure is pleasing to the eye, with towers and groups of 
buttresses surmounted by fine pinnacles adding beauty to the architectural 
design. Although the original elevations show a steeple, it was never completed. 
On August 31, 1887, the scaffolding for the tower, at almost its present height, 
collapsed, killing four stone masons. The tower was capped and a cross affixed. 





Built to accommodate one thousand worshippers, this is the largest area 
church without any center columns. No structural steel was used in the roof — the 
supports are wood frames. The interior is finished in richly designed oak. The 
gallery, wainscoting, doors and stairs are antique oak, and the pews are oak with 
curved backs. It is "one of the most comfortable houses of worship in this state" 
and a source of great pleasure to the parish. 

The atmosphere of the church is bright and cheerful due to the free use of 
color. The walls are finished in a soft lavender blending with the gray colonnades. 
The area immediately behind and surrounding the main altar is finished in rich 
wine with gold fleur-de-lis designs. The ceiling is sky blue with sections of 
pink, and ornamented in gold leaf. Murals of the Ascension and the Assumption 
appear high above the altars of the Virgin Mary and Saint Joseph. A mural of the 
Annunciation is within the dome sections over the main altar. 

Forty-three windows, ranging from two large and richly marked frames on 
either side of the church body, to smaller single-pane frames near the magnif- 
icently carved marble altar, are the outstanding feature of the church. All of the 
windows are rich in design and pattern allowing sunlight to play in a 
kaleidoscopic beauty. They were furnished at a cost of $3,600 and are excellent 
examples of art in stained window work. There are also six windows in the 
vestibule, and six in the gallery plus a handsome Catherine wheel window. The 
sacristy holds ten small windows. 

It can truly be said today, as in 1889, that "... the (new) church is a credit 
to the city of Williamsport and a worthy addition to the fine buildings which have 
made this city famous." 1 



•Sun-Gazette 3/25/1889. 



21 




Six Hundred and Thirty-Four 



The Smith-Ulman house, a three story brick Mansard showing Italian Villa 
influence, was possibly designed by Isaac Hobbs and built about 1870 for Henry 
B. Smith, a lumber dealer. 

Owned and occupied by the Ulman family for some years, this handsome 
structure was then purchased to replace the original rectory at the corner of Edwin 
and Walnut Streets. 

It has been remodeled several times, but the parlor, sitting room, and dining 
room remain essentially unchanged. The house displays beautiful crystal and 
converted gas chandeliers taken from the Rowley house across the street, and the 
plaster ceiling pieces are among the loveliest on Fourth Street. 

The home is owned by The Most Reverend J. Carroll McCormick, D.D., The 
Bishop of Scranton, in trust for the Parish, and serves as a private residence for 
the priests of Annunciation Parish. 




This two-story building grew from its humble beginning as an Italianate carriage house for the Smith- Ulman 
mansion at 634 West Fourth Street to a gracious private clubhouse for women . Although completely renovated, 
the floor plan remains essentially the same. Two original doorways face the south. The ventilator, a familiar 
detail of this landmark, was used to allow the escape of heat from the second floor hayloft. Varied civic, cultural, 
and social events have occurred in the Woman's Club over the last fifty years. This former stable provides an 
attractive setting for meetings, wedding receptions, lectures, luncheons, and teas. 

22 




Seven Hundred and Seven 

"The new residence of E. A. Rowley now in the course of 
erection at the corner of West Fourth and Walnut Streets will 
be an elegant one when completed. It will have electric light, 
electric bells, speaking tubes, a dumbwaiter and all the other 
appliances of a first class residence." 1 

Probably the most magnificent remaining example of the craftsmanship which 
exemplified "Millionaires' Row" is the Rowley House. Eber Culver designed this 
superb Queen Anne three-story brick mansion and it is recognized as one of the 
most outstanding examples of its kind of Victorian architecture in the Com- 
monwealth. 



23 



Lumber is used extensively in both the exterior and interior of the house and 
evidences of the architect's attention to detail are seen as much in the exterior 
wood trim and friezes as in the interior carved fireplaces and mirrored mantels. 
From the elaborately carved throne-like chairs in the entrance hall through the 
dining room with its built-in buffet, to the unusually carved staircase, only the 
choicest woods were used as befitting a residence in the lumber capital of the 
world. 

"The plastering, a great piece of work and probably the finest 
ever executed in the city" 2 

is in beautiful condition. Completely intact gasoliers, with cut glass globes inside, 
and numerous stained glass windows testify to the home's elegant past. 

Marble and tile fireplaces adorn many rooms and all are crowned by ornate 
mantel pieces with bevelled mirrors. 





Dining room buffet encases a stained glass window. 




The entrance hall. 



From the Rowley family, ownership passed to J. K. Rishel, a furniture 
manufacturer of Hughesville and Williamsport. The Rishels lived in the house 
until the 1930's. 

The home is now a residence for the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. 

Williamsport is indeed fortunate that the owners of Rowley House, past and 
present, have cared so lovingly for this historic treasure. 



^un-Gazette 2/9/1888. 
2 ibid. 



25 




Seven Hundred and Eleven 

In the late 1880's, Elias Deemer commissioned his friend, Eber Culver, to 
design a residence on West Fourth Street. The Queen Anne exterior of this home 
has not been changed. Large porches remain to keep the first-floor rooms shaded 
from the sun. The characteristic asymmetrical massing of shapes and textures 
gives this home a picturesque appearance similar to that of the Rowley house. 

Gables, dormers, and varied window treatments are visible above the delicate 
spindlework of the porches. The carriage house at the rear of the property still 
holds the rings where horses were once tied. 

The interior of this seventeen-room brick structure clearly reflects the 
lumbering age. The richness of cherry abounds in the winding staircase and the 
handsome wainscoting and paneling of the center hall. 




100 \\nm\ 



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liir iiifoi'iiiiili<tii Mint uill li'iiil In <li< ai'iv-l mill iim\ii-1i I 

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I.m-. it. tin- \Vi»l llr liiirilii-SiiM|iii-liiiiiiiii Itin-r. 

Vililii — 

LOST LOG COMMITTEE, 



Cast iron l*g brander which hears the 
initials of Elias Deemer. The number 
identifies a specific timber tract. 




The Her die Block 



The Herdic Block, designed by Eber Culver and built by Peter Herdic in 1870, 
was to be the business center of the city. Herdic had hopes that it would be used 
partly as an opera house and as rented locations for the government post office, 
a public market, and the United States Court Rooms for the Western District of 
Pennsylvania. 

Among the first tenants of the Herdic Block in 1870 were Lumberman's 
National Bank, Lycoming Gas and Water Company, and Williamsport Manufac- 
turing Company, all of which Herdic served as president. Other companies 
included Williamsport Iron and Lumber, S.N. Williams Lumber, West Branch 
Lumber, Susquehanna Boom, Laurel Run Improvement, Bennetts Branch 
Improvement, and E. H. Burlingame, Civil Engineer and Land Agent. 

In 1878, when Peter Herdic went into voluntary bankruptcy, the building was 
not quite completed. William Weightman took over all of Herdic's holdings and 
completed the construction of Weightman Block. 1 

The entire building at the corner of Campbell and Fourth Streets is constructed 
of large timber and bricks. It was built without the aid of steel beams or elevators. 
The floors are concrete, the plaster walls are sixteen inches thick, and the doors 
and woodwork solidly carved wood. The outside of the building is of interest in 
that each of the three floors has a different window lintel. The street front 
entrances have been changed over the years to suit the many different tenants, 
but the upper floors remain basically the same. 

The eighteen-foot ceilings have lent themselves to the conversion of one room 
into a bi-level apartment with a loft effect bedroom area. Some of the apartment 
doors are decorated with the original brass elephant head and trunk door 
knockers, and some have the original folding pine blinds and shutters. The 
penthouse was never completed and the lumber which was to be used remains 
on the fifth floor level. The safes used by the banks are large walk-in, lead-lined 
rooms reminiscent of the more prosperous era past. Today, the Weightman Block 
has nine business and forty-nine residential tenants. 

1 William Weightman, "The Quinine King", was a partner in the Philadelphia firm of Powers and Weightman, 
which was the first to manufacture sulphate of quinine. 

27 



*»(-■>„ ♦*'«!»», 




Herdic House 

The focal point of the Fourth Street saga must be Herdic House. 

This four-story, brick, Victorian hotel was designed in 1864 by Eber Culver and 
opened to the public in 1865. l The story has been told that Herdic asked Culver 
to travel about the country, look at the better hotels, then come back and design 
one for Williamsport and submit an estimate for it. 



' A spectacular though disastrous event took place on the afternoon Herdic House was to open. The gas works 
Herdic had built to provide illumination burned to the ground. An undaunted Peter Herdic scurried 
downtown and bought all the candles and coal oil lamps he could locate. The elaborate celebration went on as 
scheduled. It is a coincidence that on the night this hotel became the Park Home the lights failed as they did on 
the opening night of Herdic House just seventy-five years before. 

28 



U8>r 



**« i "iis* 1 









! * i 






Hir v ,«^ 



»- 1 i 



mm 



J ItM 



» i » tt'«1 » tWfU a 



>**%* 



As Culver turned to leave the room, Herdic said that on second thought 
perhaps he should not submit an estimate for if he did perhaps he (Herdic) would 
not build it. The total cost is said to have been $225,000. The finished hotel, a 
pretentious structure, located in a lovely park shaded by native oak trees, was 
capable of housing seven hundred guests and was soon considered one of the 
finest hotels on the Eastern seaboard. A deer park, fronting the hotel, was fenced 
and had a decorative fountain and never fewer than three or four deer. 



29 




North Portico which once connected the Herdic House with the Philadelphia and Erie Railroad Station. 



Before the advent of the dining car, all train schedules were contrived so a 
station restaurant was available at mealtimes, and passengers were greeted at 
Herdic House by a chef standing on the porch calling out an invitation to dinner. 
Planked shad, as prepared in local lumber camps, was a specialty of the house. 
The extensive menu was reproduced on thin sheets of wood. The railroad station 
at its back door, the street car line at its front door; Herdic House was one of the 
liveliest places in Williamsport. 

After passing from the ownership of Peter Herdic, the hotel changed hands 
several times. It was rented from the Weightman estate by Col. Charles Duffy, 
who opened it in 1889 as the Park Hotel. In 1930, it was purchased by William 
Budd Stuart who removed the two top stories to conform with fire regulations 
before opening it in 1940 as the Park Home. Stuart enhanced the elegant 
atmosphere of the home with his magnificent collection of fine paintings. 

30 



Since its conception, Herdic House has been an active and exciting place, 
featuring concerts on the front lawn (some by Williamsport's famous Repaz 
Band), dances in the first floor ballroom, afternoon "Tea Dances", and 
sumptuous holiday parties. 

Today, much of the same feeling prevails in the home. The grandeur is still 
in evidence in the elaborate crystal chandeliers, oriental rugs, tapestries, oil 
paintings, and stately rooms. The basic design is still that of a hotel with the 
inhabitants treated as guests. Picnics on the lawn, parties, meals served by 
waitresses, modern conveniences, and the spirit of freedom and pride which 
permeates the care of this home combine to create happy and contented residents. 



pv V^Prry q» 





Eight Hundred and Fifteen 



Mahlon L. Fisher, architect and builder of Greek Revival houses, came to 
Williamsport from Flemington, New Jersey in 1855. He became affiliated with 
members of the powerful lumbering families 1 and eventually became a wealthy 
lumber dealer himself. Of Fisher, John Meginness, Lycoming County historian, 
said: 

"Mahlon L. Fisher was the artificer of his own life and was one 
of the few men who became rich and yet maintained a reputation 
spotless and unsullied. Truth, honor, and fidelity xoas the 
platform on which he stood firm and immovable. His generosity 
was without stint." 

In 1866, Eber Culver, who had recently finished Herdic House, designed a 
magnificent stone villa with towers fore and aft, to house Fisher, his wife, and 
seven children. The grounds were ornamented by a fountain, urns, and large 
statues of "Summer" and "Winter". Gardens enhanced both side and rear. It was 
a pretentious mansion, even in the days when it was fashionable to try to "out 
do" neighbors, and the home became known as the "Million Dollar Mansion". 

The cultural atmosphere of the rapidly growing city played a vital role in the 
lives of the Fisher family. Surrounded by luxury in his youth, John Stires Fisher, 
eldest son of Mahlon, expanded his wealth by managing extensive lumber 
interests in central Pennsylvania and Canada. Both he and his wife were 
artistically and musically inclined and were personal friends of artists Severin 
Roesen and George Benjamin Luks. Their third son, Mahlon Leonard, became 
vitally interested in the arts. He was a noted poet in Williamsport's cultural circles 
and his work is still recognized. 

The home fell into disrepair, many of the furnishings were disposed of at 
auction, and the "Million Dollar Mansion" was razed to provide a site for the 
construction of the Y.W.C.A. 



1 John G. Reading, Peter Herdic. 
32 




Eight Hundred and Twenty-Nine 

The first dwelling at 829 was occupied by Benjamin Taylor, lumberman. It was 
completely destroyed by fire, and the home presently seen at 829 was built by 
Henry Parsons, lawyer, and at one time Mayor of Williamsport. 

A magnificent cherry door with gleaming brass trim graces the entrance to this 
Queen Anne style home. The door was once framed with stained glass, but it has 
been replaced with leaded glass. The original stained glass remains in the 
windows of the upper floors. Cherry wood is repeated in the handsomely carved 
mantels. 

The home contained a square dove-tailed pine bathtub that was copper lined. 
It has been removed, but remains in the possession of the present owner. 

A unique feature of this residence is a network of tin tubing that connected 
several of the twenty-seven rooms to an old fashioned "Intercom". These 
speaking tubes made it a little easier to communicate within such a large mansion. 



Solid cherry front door. 




«r 







Eight Hundred and Thirty-Five 

The mansion built in 1889 by William Emery, when he married Mary White 
Gamble, is a stone structure designed by Eber Culver in Richardsonian- 
Romanesque style. It was erected on the east side yard of the John White estate. 

The thirty-room home, including a servants' wing on the south side, butler's 
quarters on the fourth floor, and a charming carriage house at the rear, was 
purchased in 1906 bv Seth T. Foresman. The house was at its height of Victorian 
luxury. It contained a music room where the children entertained themselves on 
a player piano. The living room had lace curtains and draperies covering the 
inside folding oak blinds, and the floors were covered with oriental rugs. 

The house was owned by the Kaye family, then the Ackerman family. It was 
used as an apartment house, and fell into disrepair when used by the Army as 
a reserve center in the 1940's. Evidently, inside target practice was held because 
nearly one thousand pounds of plaster had fallen on the oak floors. 

Dr. Francis Costello purchased the property in 1956 and completed extensive 
restoration and renovation. 

34 




The entrance hall in its Victorian splendor. 



35 




With the removal of the dining room table and Victorian knick-knacks, 
this room seri'es as the office of William E. Nichols. 

The building contains a treasure of architectural features exemplifying 
"Millionaires' Row." Massive wooden doors open to an entrance hall dominated 
by a magnificent quartered oak stairway, adorned by a large pagoda-style 
fireplace, and lit by two chandeliers, suspended by a single chain from the thirty- 
five foot ceiling. Woodwork in natural cherry and oak, bas-relief, moldings twelve 
inches deep, wainscoting, beautifully carved fireplaces, and many glorious 
stained glass windows have been refurbished. A four-knot pattern or insignia is 
repeated in brass hardward throughout the house. 

The aesthetic appeal of this house is overwhelming and each room has its own 
individuality and charm. Oversized clear glass windows give a many faceted view 
of the seasonal panorama of Way's Garden. Dr. Costello and the present owner, 
the law firm of McCormick, Lynn, Nichols, Reeder, and Sarno, are to be 
commended. Because of their interest in historic preservation, one of the city's 
finest homes still shines brightly on a street where the gem is the rule, rather than 
the exception. 

36 




Trinity Episcopal Church 



The epitome of appropriate design is to be seen in the lovely English Gothic 
spire designed by Eber Culver to crown Trinity Episcopal Church. This Gothic 
building reflects a lightness, delicacy, and simple beauty most fitting for a house 
of worship. 

"The pointed arch, the acute pitch of the roof, the soaring 
pinnacles-all direct attention upward." 1 

The movement to establish this church began at a meeting at Herdic House 
in December, 1865. With the population of Williamsport on the increase, an 
Episcopal Church west of Hepburn Street was deemed necessary. In 1871, the 
cornerstone was laid for a permanent building on a lot donated by Peter Herdic 
at the corner of West Fourth Street and Trinity Place. 

Fred G. Thorn prepared the original plans, but moved to Philadelphia, leaving 
Eber Culver as the supervising architect. At Herdic's suggestion, architect Culver 
created the beautiful lofty spire and executed many of the elaborate and costly 
details. 

The mountain stone used in constructing the church was quarried from the 
sides of Bald Eagle Mountain at Stone Switch, near Muncy. It was hammer- 
dressed, laid in irregular courses, and its joints were pointed with black mortar. 
The brownstone used for window jambs, door jambs, and buttress caps came 
from Hummelstown. 



1 "History of Lycoming County, 1876" published by D. J. Stewart. 



37 




As the completion date approached, Herdic gave the church an organ and a 
tower clock, 2 while Judge John Maynard (Herdic's father-in-law) and his wife 
presented the church with a nine-bell chime. 

The Maynard chime was used not only for the call to worship, but also in 
sounding the famous Cambridge quarter-hour chimes from the tower clock. The 
notes are arranged from an air by Handel and were first used in Cambridge, 
England. Trinity had the honor of introducing these famous chimes to the United 
States. 

That the church would be out of debt and ready for consecration when 
completed could hardly be anticipated until Herdic quietly announced his 
intention to present the finished building to the church corporation. Although the 
original estimate had been for $25,000, Peter Herdic spent nearly $80,000 for the 
completed project. On the day of consecration, February 22, 1876, Judge Maynard 
read and presented to the parish a deed from Herdic, not only for the lot, but for 
the building as well. Included in the deed was a stipulation that the pews were 
to remain forever free. 

In 1884, Judge Maynard gave the church an adjoining lot, and a rectory was 
built. Thirty years later, in 1914, Amanda Howard gave Trinity the money to build 
a parish house which was used for church activities as well as for community 
recreation. 

The hallowed walls of Trinity Episcopal Church created a cohesive force in this 
storied neighborhood. 



["he i lock which was "Warranted not to vary over two seconds a week" had to be wound by hand each week 
until it was electrified in 1M4I . The original key remained in the lock until 1954 when it was stolen by vandals. 

38 




Eight Hundred and Fifty-Eight 



The original building at 858 West Fourth Street was a three-bay Federal style 
brick farm home situated on a dusty lane and looking out on fertile fields and a 
lovely clump of woodland. The land had been purchased from James Hepburn 
and the farm home was built about 1840. 

Time wrought many changes in the home and its surroundings. The Maynard 
family remodeled the house several times. The pillared veranda and balcony were 
replaced by a recessed porch, and the roofing lath of green split oak was replaced 
by slate. The fields gradually gave way to dwellings and the dusty lane became 
a bustling thoroughfare. 

Judge J. W. Maynard erected two wings with cupolas on either side of the 
house. A Gothic tower with crenellations was added. 

J. Roman Way bought the house in 1901, raised it three to four feet higher than 
it had been originally, probably to correspond well with its neighbors, remodeled 
the interior, and removed both the wings and much of the exterior Gothic trim. 
By 1922, the house had become an exceedingly attractive grey brick dwelling of 
spacious proportions with a hospitable atmosphere. 

In 1939, it became the property of the Lycoming County Historical Society and 
opened as a museum in 1941. It housed the artifacts and exhibits of the society 
until December 22, 1960, when a disastrous fire burned a great hole through the 
center of the gracious old building. The excessive smoke and water damage was 
so severe that rehabilitation costs made the use of the shell impractical. 

A new museum, contemporary and extremely functional as an exhibit center 
was designed by Frank A. Wagner. It was completed and opened to the public 
on November 22, 1968. 




39 



Corner of Fourth and Maynard Streets 

This large Victorian structure once stood proudly in the center of what is now 
Way's Garden. It was planned and constructed by Robert Faries in the mid- 
eighteen hundreds. The dwelling was stuccoed brick, marked to resemble stone. 
The home was situated on an elevated mound to the rear of this spacious 
property. 

After Faries death, the house, or castle, so called because of its large towers, 
became the property of John White, a lumberman. The Whites occupied the castle 
for more than forty years, until their deaths in the early 1900's. 

Just as J. Roman Way was completing the extensive remodeling of his home 
diagonally across West Fourth Street, the first prospective buyer for the White 
castle announced her intention to use the mansion as a rooming house. Mr. Way 
bought the old home and had it dismantled brick by brick. According to a 
newspaper account in 1913: 

". . . so solidly was the old building put up that it requires 
several blows to loosen each brick." 

The land soon assumed a pleasing aspect and later in 1913, J. Roman Way 
fulfilled his garden dream and presented "Way's Garden" to the City of 
Williamsport. 












i 







* 



C;* 




Nine Hundred and One 

The brick home at the corner of West Fourth and Maynard Streets was 
designed and built by Amos Wagner in 1890 for Henry Johnson, a state legislator 
from Muncy, his wife, and six daughters. At its building, the house afforded a 
fine view of the Maynard home as well as Faries Castle. 

The Johnsons were so well pleased with the builder and their home that for 
a wedding gift to one of the Johnson daughters they built a mirror image house 
adjacent to their home but at a right angle facing Maynard Street. The houses 
differ primarily in the splendid finishing touches chosen to display the distinctive 
personalities of their owners. 

41 




The second floor coal-burning 
fireplace features a curved draioer 
for the removal of ashes. 



Utility made beautiful, a by-ioord of the 
day, exemplified in the hand- tooled red 
brass container for the wall mounted 
fire escape ladder from the third floor. 




The impressive entrance to the Johnson home features mosaic tile flooring, 
lovely stained and leaded glass, ornate hardware, and beautifully detailed 
moldings and wainscoting. The entire house was finished with meticulous 
attention to use of the finest in materials and craftsmanship. 

Changing hands a relatively few times, this home fortunately escaped any 
objectionable form of remodeling. 

The present owners, Dr. and Mrs. George A. Durrwachter, enjoy a lovely side 
view of Way's Garden. The house at 901 West Fourth Street seems to have come 
full cycle; for in addition to housing the offices of Dr. Durrwachter, it is again 
providing an exquisite setting for gracious family living. All the beauty inherent 
in the original dwelling has been protected, restored, and skillfully adapted to a 
20th Century life style. 

42 



Nine Hundred and Four 

In 1868, land for the home at 904 West Fourth Street was deeded from Peter 
Herdic to Howard C. Taylor, who built his home in 1873. The house was sold to 
Daniel Stiltz and in 1891 was purchased by Garrett D. Tinsman. 

The Tinsman name was very well known in the lumbering business. Garrett 
D.'s father, Garrett, was a pioneer in the business, as was his uncle, Peter, who 
began the first steam sawmill in the area in 1852. The owner of the home at 904 
West Fourth Street operated a sawmill in the Maynard Street area, worked with 
the Cochran Coal Company, and served as president of the Williamsport Steam 
Company. 

The home of Tinsman, his wife, Mary Ryan Hepburn, and their three children 
was a stucco structure, making it appear simpler and less complex than its 
neighbors. The main floor consisted of three large parlors or sitting rooms, a 
dining room on the east side, with a pantry and kitchen to the rear. The house 
has a curved stairway from the central entry hall. It once featured a three-foot 
semi-nude statue of a woman wearing a Roman toga standing in the niche part 
way up the staircase. The niche was said to be functional in that it allowed a casket 
to be manipulated down the curved stairway. 

At the rear of the house stands an elegantly simple carriage house, which the 
Stiltz's used as a studio for the making of charcoal enlargements of photographs. 

Fortunately, the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Earl Ohmneiss, have started 
to restore this house after a heavily damaging fire in 1973. They are making an 
effort to retain as much of the stucco and Victorian ornamentation as possible 
while designing functional apartments inside. 




IM'IHIIIII' _ g_. - 



PR** 




Nine Hundred and Twelve 



Harry Chaapel's Florist Shop and Greenhouses stood on the location of 906- 
912 West Fourth Street from the mid 1870's until 1898 and covered an extensive 
amount of the property between Third Avenue and Nichols Place. The original 
shop was moved around the corner to its present location at 324 Park Street 
where, for some time it was the Crouse Gymnasium and most recently the Hann- 
Litho Print Company. The original facade and turret remain and are well- 
preserved. 

The Dutch Colonial gambrel-roofed home now at 912 West Fourth Street was 
built in 1905 for Henry Melick Foresman, general manager of the lumber concern 
of Williams and Foresman, at a cost of $47,500. The home is a copy of another 
lumberman's mansion built in Emporium, Pennsylvania, and it was rushed to 
completion for the marriage of Foresman's daughter, Martha Allen to John H. 
McCormick. 

The outside brick work is Flemish bond. The columns are of the Roman 
Revival Period with Ionic capitals. The four main columns are seventy-four inches 
around at the base and eighteen feet high. The seventeen small columns are 
situated on the porch railing. Each one of the columns is hollow, having been put 
together of individually cut and shaped pieces, like barrel staves. 

When this home was built the carriage house to the rear of the property 
accommodated horses on the ground level with an apartment for the horseman 
and chauffeur on the second story. Foresman soon had it remodeled for the latest 
invention — the automobile. 

From all outward appearances, and the many chimneys on the roof, it would 
be thought that the home had many fireplaces, but actually there is only one — 
in the old main parlor or living room. The effect given by the clear glass of the 
double front doors backed by the fine leaded and etched glass of the vestibule 
doors is repeated on the first-floor landing in the upper sash windows, and then 
again on the third floor landing. The first floor entry is fifteen feet wide with three 
massive mahogany sliding doors which were made by the Crooks Door Company 
at a cost of $200 each. An open stairway leads to the third floor where originally 
there was a hardwood floored ballroom across the entire front of the structure. 
The ballroom was later converted to an apartment, but the flooring is visible as 
a reminder of past grandeur. 

44 




Ownership of the home was willed in 1944 to Rebecca Foresman who was 
married to B. Cameron Keefer, Jr. They in turn sold it to Mr. and Mrs. J. Ernest 
Hart, who used it as their private residence and as a tourist home. 

In August, 1957, Dr. and Mrs. J. Carl Baier purchased the former millionaire 
mansion for the sum of $28,750, a fraction of the total cost of building the home 
fifty-two years earlier. For fifteen years it was used as a doctor's office on the first 
floor and a private residence on the second floor. Another doctor, the Visiting 
Nurses Association, and currently the American Cancer Society have occupied 
the western side of the first floor. Presently it is owned by Mr. and Mrs. Ralph 
S. Clinger, Jr. dinger is an insurance adjustor, and his office is now located there. 

Through all of the years and different tenants only one change of major 
significance has taken place downstairs and that was the construction of a 
partition in the original dining room to make a long and narrow room for 
ophthalmology examinations by Dr. Baier. It could be torn out today without 
interfering with the paneled molded ceiling, thus preserving the beauty of this 
once gracious and spacious home. 

45 



Nine Hundred and Fifteen 



Just beyond Mavnard Street, on the south side of West Fourth Street stands 
the home which was presented to Lucy J. R. Eutermarks as a wedding gift from 
her parents, Samuel and Emma Otto Filbert. The land was purchased and the title 
transferred to her from Peter Herdic. The home is said to have been designed by 
Eber Culver and is a two-story brick Italian Villa mansion built in the early 1870"s. 
A cupola, which was removed in 1920 undoubtedly gave the families a great view 
of the surrounding area. Originally the wooden front porch extended across the 
entire facade, but it was removed around 1950 leaving the front stoop and the 
Italian cornices and bracketed eaves. 

In 1901, Mr. and Mrs. Elwood S. Harrar rented the home and they eventually 
purchased it from John Eutermarks in 1907. The Harrar family objected to the 
unpopular superstitious number thirteen, so they had it changed to fifteen and 
the address has remained 915 West Fourth Street. 

This eleven-room grand Victorian home has thirteen foot ceilings, some with 
ornamental plaster center pieces. The drawing room has a white marble fireplace 
and mantel. All of the windows were originally fitted with inside folding pine 
blinds. At the foot of the staircase and bannister there was a newel post topped 
by a gasolier. 

This particular home is one of the fine examples of mid-19th Century design 
that has been well cared for and preserved both interiorly and externally by its 
owners. 




Nine Hundred and Twenty -One 

The Lyon home was built on land purchased from their friend and neighbor, 
John T. Fredericks, of 925 West Fourth Street. It was a spacious home sturdily 
constructed of cut stone and interestingly shaped hand-hewn shingles. 

Following the death of her husband, Mrs. Lyon traveled in Europe where she 
was so impressed by French design that she brought a French architect to 
Williamsport to plan the remodeling of her home. The interior was enhanced by 
the addition of arched double French doors, separating the study and dining 
room, reproduced as exact replicas of doors seen and admired by Mrs. Lyon in 
a French castle. French provincial paneling in shaded tones of cream and brown 
was installed on all three floors of the home. Removal of the front porch was the 
only exterior change made. 

Later, 921 West Fourth Street became the home of Miss Henrietta Baldy Lyon, 
early champion of woman's suffrage in Williamsport. Miss Lyon had an excellent 
education and the courage and tenacity to join the battle for ratification of the 19th 
amendment. 

47 




In 1937, the house became the property of Dr. and Mrs. Hugh S. Fredericks, 
who lived there until 1950 when it was purchased by Mrs. Thomas Redmond, Sr. 

Mr. and Mrs. Howard C. Masters, the present owners who make their home 
in the first-floor apartment, have covered the deteriorating wooden shingles with 
siding. Painstaking care has been given to matching the moldings used in the 
original creation of French Provincial paneling. 

The adaptation of this single home to an apartment building was so skillfully 
accomplished that the house retains all of its original beauty. 

48 




Nine Hundred Forty-Tzvo-Nine Hundred Forty -Four 

Around 1875, Peter Herdic and Eber Culver embarked on a real estate 
experiment building "double" houses. Their goals were to bring more residents 
to the western end of the city and to provide work for many lumbermen who were 
unemployed due to the decline in the lumber business. One result of this 
experiment was 942-944 West Fourth Street, an unsymmetrical double house with 
a Mansard roof. 

A close look reveals that even the gingerbread trim on one side is different 
from the other. Each side is equivalent to a large single-family home, complete 
with servants' quarters. The first floor layout was so well planned that the maid 
could answer the front door from a hall without disturbing any family entertain- 
ing that might be going on in the parlor. 

Since each side of the house was designed to be owned by different families, 
it has perhaps had more owners than any other house on West Fourth Street. 

Today, Mrs. Margaret A. Newcomer owns and lives in 942, and Mr. and Mrs. 
Thomas E. Harris, Jr. own and maintain their photographic studio in 944 
West Fourth Street. 




Gingerbread on the West. 



Gingerbread on the East. 



49 




Nine Hundred Forty-Nine-Nine Hundred Fifty-One 

One of the largest of the West Fourth Street homes was built sometime 
between 1865 and 1870 by George W. Lentz, lumber manufacturer and banker, 
in conjunction with Peter Herdic. The earliest recorded occupant of the house 
(then numbered 295) was Robert McCormick Foresman. The brick mansion with 
Mansard style roof was a combination of Italian Villa and French Second Empire 
design. 

In the early 1880's, a fire destroyed the original shallow Mansard roof and 
Foresman added a third floor, a very ornate Queen Anne roof, a portico and 
various other embellishments. After the remodeling the house contained more 
than fifty rooms! These changes were typical of the times for the home owners 
often changed the style of their home to meet the fashion of the day. "One-up- 
manship" flourished on West Fourth Street with the newly rich admiring 
anything cultural and seeking to possess and display proof of their improved 
financial and social status. 

The home at 951 West Fourth Street was not as showy as some, but it did boast 
evidences of wealth. Unusual brass door knobs; stained glass windows featuring 
the heads of Mozart, John Milton, and Tasso (the Italian poet, apparently in 
keeping with the original Italian design of the home); ceramic fireplace tiles 
depicting scenes from the Tales of King Arthur; all attest to the impression of 
culture desired by the owner. All the interior walls of the original house were 
frescoed with trompe l'oeil moldings, cornices, and other plaster ornaments. 

50 



The elaborate hand carving which frames the dining room fireplace, the 
beautiful mahogany stair railing, and an elegant cherry corner cupboard are fine 
examples of the excellent wood working craftsmanship of the period. 

The marbleized slate fireplace in the living room is topped by a tremendous 
mirror (once gold-leafed) which was strategically placed to catch the light of a 
fabulous Victorian chandelier. 1 

As the Foresman children grew up and moved away, the home was converted 
into nine apartments and has been known as the Cleveden since 1917. In 1938, 
John B. and Alice Gibson Voelkler purchased the home. At present, the property 
is part of the estate of Mrs. Voelkler. 



The chandelier has been installed in the Victorian Room of the Lycoming County Historical Society Museum. 





Blue and white tiles on black frame 
a second floor fireplace. The comer 
tiles represent fire and ice. 



The gasolier from the newel post 
can be seen in the Victorian Room of 
the Lycoming County Historical 
Society Museum. 



51 



Ten Hundred and Five 

This spacious house at 1005 West Fourth Street with its grand verandas, 
arched windows, and handsome woodwork exemplifies the elegant living of the 
Victorian era when men did not apologize for their wealth, but displayed it boldly. 
Both the main house and the extremely large carriage house are basically a 
simplified form of the English High Victorian Gothic style; but English Victorian 
Gothic, English Tudor chimneys, Italian arched windows, a balcony out of a 
gable, and a turret with a spire-like wrought iron ornament combine to present 
an impressive individuality of design. 

Probably built in the mid 1860's, the house, as well as the land, was owned 
by Peter Herdic, H. E. Taylor, and John G. Reading until purchased by John E. 
Goodrich in 1869. Goodrich was in the wholesale grocery business, but went into 
lumbering as the firm of Goodrich and Taber which maintained a saw, shingle, 
and jack mill until 1878. Apparently Goodrich was hit by the panic of 1878 because 
the house was sold at sheriff's sale that year. 

It was the same panic that brought the next owners of the house at 301 West 
Fourth Street (now 1005) to Williamsport. Peter Herdic's holdings had been 
acquired by William Weightman who sent his daughter, Anne, and her husband, 
R. J. C. Walker, to Williamsport to supervise his new ventures. In the 1880's, West 
Fourth Street was the place to live and the Walker house was one of the finest 
on "Millionaires' Row". 




52 




Walker, a graduate of Harvard University, was a lawyer. He was elected a 
representative to Congress from the 16th District in 1880. He became president 
of the Lumberman's National Bank, but he and his wife returned to Philadelphia 
when he was admitted to his father-in-law's firm in 1893. 

Anne Weightman Walker inherited all of her father's estate in 1904. After the 
death of her husband, she married Frederick Courtland Penfield who was the last 
ambassador to the court of Austria before World War I. Mrs. Walker Penfield, 
who was referred to as "the Woman Midas" in her obituary, became known as 
the wealthiest woman in the world after the death of Hettie Green. She was said 
to have returned to Williamsport on many occasions to entertain at the Park Hotel, 
which she then owned. On several occasions she chartered a private railroad car 
to transport her guests to Niagara Falls for Weekend galas. 

J. Henry Cochran purchased the house in 1895. Senator Cochran was a 
lumberman, financier, railroader, industrial leader, state senator, and a living 
exponent of true charity. He supported many charities, placing his funds in the 
hands of friends whom he trusted and commanding that none should know 
where they were spent. He was known as the "Iceman of Fourth Street" through 
his thoughtful provision of ice for tr\e poor families who could not afford it to keep 
milk cold. He died in 1911, but his widow maintained the house until her death. 

1005 West Fourth Street was purchased by Dr. E. Lloyd Rothfuss in 1936. Dr. 
Rothfuss turned the proud home with its fourteen foot ceilings and walls four 
bricks thick into nine apartments. He and his wife resided in six rooms on the 
first floor east. 

As did the owners of the past, the present owners, Mr. and Mrs. Harold L. 
Hurwitz, are maintaining this building with careful intention both to preserve the 
integrity of the original structure, and to insure the continuing value to the 
community of this most impressive West Fourth Street landmark. 




53 




Ten Hundred and Twenty -Two 



In 1878, Charles Coburn Mussina purchased the tract of land upon which he 
intended to build his private residence. The home was designed in 1881 by Isaac 
Hobbs and Son, Architect, of Philadelphia, and their fee was $95. The specifica- 
tions, still held in the Mussina family, state that the house shall be: 

". . . a two full stories high with a gable roof. The bricks are 
to be of good color and all mortar for the stone and brick work 
to be composed of good screened sand and fresh lime, properly 
proportioned and thoroughly worked to be the best quality of 
mortar." 

The home is entered through large double front doors over which are stained 
glass windows bearing the initials of the owner on one side and the then current 
house number (312) on the other. Almost all of the rooms have exquisite stained 
glass windows purchased from the Keystone Glass Works, of Philadelphia, 
handlers of French and American glass and makers of stained, engraved, and 
embossed glass. 

The east living room features upper window sashes of stained glass squares 
surrounding a center square of daintily etched and embossed flowers and birds. 
The fireplace opening is surrounded by tiles depicting scenes from Sir Walter 
Scott's novels. Above the ornate walnut and maple bannister leading to the 
second floor is another wall of fine glass windows similar to the others with exotic 
birds, butterflies, and flowers. 

The Sun-Gazette newspaper reported on March 22, 1882 that: 

"the residence of Charles C. Mussina on West Fourth Street 
has been completed and a handsome structure it is." 

This is the only home built, owned, and still lived in by the same family. Miss 
Martha Mussina, well-known local artist, currently lives there. 

54 




Ten Hundred and Twenty -Five 



One of the early homes on West Fourth Street was this three-story frame 
Mansard dwelling built in 1865 for John G. Reading. Reading was lured to 
Williamsport in the late 1850's by his desire to become actively engaged in the 
management of lumbering interests in which he had heavily invested. He had 
been quite successful in the mercantile business in Flemington, New Jersey, but 
failing health had required the sale of that business and reinvestment of his funds 
with Mahlon Fisher, a Williamsport lumberman. Reading became extensively 
involved with many local concerns and retained his interest in them until the mid- 
1870's. 

When John Reading moved to Philadelphia, the house became the property 
of his cousin, Franklin Reading. 

The exterior of the home, which has remained unaltered, features beautiful 
bay windows with delicate wrought iron trim matching that used on the porch 
roof. Double front doors open on an entry hall with a circular stairway to the third 
floor. At one time, each room contained a black marble fireplace. 

The home has changed hands many times, been remodeled to provide five 
apartments, and is now owned by B. C. Rothfus, who resides in a first-floor 
apartment. 



<|JP)» READING, FISHER & Col, 

LUMBER OF ALL KINDS, LATH, SIDING, PLANK. 

. , OFFICE-HEHDIC BLOCK. 

33, f, / ■■<<■• if3f t - >:•< ■•■ ■ ./- 

r 



55 



Ten Hundred and Twenty-Eight 

Although lumbering was indeed the primary cause of the prosperity that 
created West Fourth Street fortunes, many diverse industries emerged in 
conjunction with the growth of Williamsport. J. K. Mosser, tannery, became the 
largest sole cutting plant in the world. J. E. Dayton made over fifty separate shoe 
styles from high-grade dress to hunting, work, and railroad shoes. Lycoming 
Rubber manufactured car springs and other hard rubber products, later becoming 
Keystone Rubber and manufacturing shoes for lawn tennis, yachting, and 
gymnasium use. E. Keeler and Company was established in 1864 and is still in 
existence manufacturing water tube boilers and oil and gas burners. The Wire 
Buckle Suspender Company was the largest in the world with a daily capacity 
of 40,000 pairs of suspenders. The National Paint Works was the fifth factory in 
the United States to manufacture ready-to-use paints. Flock Brewing Company 
made lager beer, sarsaparilla, nectar, and root beer. Wood related companies 
included L. M. Castner, picture and mirror frames; W. D. Crooks and Sons, 
doors; Williamsport Furniture, bedroom furniture; H. D. Hermance and E. A. 
Rowley, woodworking machines for furniture factories. 

One of the smaller industries of Williamsport began in 1865 when William Sipe 
settled his family here, building his home and a small factory with three pottery 
wheels one mile west of Herdic House . At first, he made redware exclusively and 
supplied the area for a one hundred mile radius. Later, he was a dealer in terra- 
cotta, sewer pipes, and manufactured stoneware. 



W?) V 









<£k~ 



A privately owned collection of Sipe and Sons earthenware-bowls, crocks, and jugs 



Sipe and Sons made all kinds of stoneware, which they decorated with blue, 
the only color that would not bake out under extremely high kiln temperatures. 
Many of the potters used the same basic designs and the easiest to achieve were 
the hand painted plumes and sprays. Occasionally stencils were used. 

All of this American pottery, sought after and prized by today's collectors, 
reminds us of the time when the good earth provided all the basic materials for 
the making of storage containers for our fruitful bounty. 



57 



Ten Hundred and Fifty -One 



The residence at 1051 was built for William Howard and his wife in the 1890's. 
Howard was one of Williamsport's pioneer lumbermen, but is best remembered 
for his philanthropic support of the Masonic Order. It was through a provision 
of his will that the Howard Memorial Cathedral on Fourth Street was built and 
dedicated. It stands today as a testimony to the life long devotion and generosity 
of its donor. 

The lovely Howard residence became a multi-family dwelling after the 
Depression. It was purchased by Dr. Francis Costello, and is now owned by 
Dominic J. and Frances Santalucia. 

Through the passing years, the house has remained virtually unaltered in its 
external appearance. The delicate black wrought iron balcony and the black stone 
trim accentuate varied patterns of brickwork. Intricate panels enhance the beauty 
of this massive white brick structure. Its many windows are as varied as the glass 
they contain; bull's eye (behind the balcony), leaded, French plated, and stained. 
On both floors to the left of the entrance, a two foot thick solid stone curved lintel 
tops three curved glass windows. The second story center window arrangement 
is flanked by columns supporting stone wreaths with marble centers. 

The interior which once contained over twenty rooms, reflects the bountiful 
harvest of the lumberman. Parquet floors with elaborate designs are surrounded 
by natural oak woodwork and wainscoting. The staircase, although partially 
enclosed, still illustrates the skill of a master carpenter, and handsomely carved 
newel posts stand proudly in the hallways. 





Cherry, curly maple and oak form 
fascinating geometric designs in 
these parquet floors. 



Epilogue 



"May neither fire destroy 

nor waste impair, 
Nor time consume thee 

to the twentieth heir, 
May taste respect thee 
and may fashion spare." 



T. Costain 



The end of the West Fourth Street Story has not been written, nor can it be 
predicted. 

Speaking of the fledgling community emerging on the northern bank of the 
Susquehanna at William's Port during the first half of the Nineteenth Century, 
Meginness wrote: 

"'What is destined to be in the future, it is difficult to predict; 
but if energy, intelligence, and moral worth do not prove 
unavailing, we may safely anticipate for it a high and proud 
pre-eminence." 1 

His timeless words are most appropriate as we remember the past, consider 
the present, and act for the future of West Fourth Street. 



1 Meginness, John F., "A History of the West Branch Valley of the Susquehanna. 
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania 1857. 



59 



Bibliography 



Collins, Emerson and Jordan, Histoni of Lycoming County of Pennsylvania, Volume I and II, 

New York and Chicago, 1906. 
Humes, James C. Sweet Dream-Talcs of a Rii'er City, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 1966. 
Junior League of Williamsport, Incorporated, Homes and Heritage of the West Branch Valley, 

Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 1968. 
Leach, Josiah, Reading Genealogy, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1898. 
Lloyd, Col. Thomas W., History of Lycoming County of Pennsylvania, Volume I and II, Topeka 

Kansas and Indianapolis, Indiana, 1929. 
Maass, John, The Victorian Home in America, 1972. 
Meginness, John F. Historical Journal, (two volumes). Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 

1888-1894. 
Meginness, John F. Biographical Annals of Deceased Residents of the West Branch Valley of the 

Susquehanna, Williamsport, Pennsylvania, 1889. 
Meginness, John F. History of Lycoming County. Chicago, 1892. 
Singmaster, Elsie, Pennsylvania's Susquehanna, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, 1950. 
Stewart, D. J. History of Lycoming County, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1876. 
Tonkin, R. Dudley, My Partner, the River, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 1958. 
Atlas of the Cih/ of Williamsport, Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1888. 
Atlas of Surveys of the City of Williamsport and Suburbs, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, 1898. 

Newspapers-Clippings and Accounts 

Gazette and Bulletin, Gazette and Bulletin Publishing Association, 

Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 
Grit, Grit Publishing Company, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

Williamsport Sun-Gazette, The Sun-Gazette Company, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 
McMinn, Joseph M. Historical Sketches. 

Grit, Williamsport Centennial Section 1866-1966, January 1966. 
Dawson, Jean Mansions and Inns of the West Branch Valley, 

Gazette and Bulletin, July 22, 1922. 

Periodicals and Journals 

Now and Then, a quarterly magazine of History and Biography. Muncy, Pennsylvania. 
The journal of the Lycoming County Historical Society, Williamsport, Pennsylvania. 

Slide Lecture 

Junior League of Williamsport, Incorporated, 

Lecture and Slide Series, "The Fourth Street Story." 



60 




I;. 



11