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First Presbyterian Church

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1850–1852, John E. Carver; 1877; 1912–1913, C. Emlen Urban. 140 E. Orange St.
  • (© George E. Thomas)
  • (William E. Fischer, Jr.)

The First Presbyterian Church looked very much like Robert Smith's Third Presbyterian Church ( PH19) in Philadelphia; it was replaced in 1852 with this church that was designed, according to church records, by “architect Carver,” surely Philadelphia church specialist John E. Carver. His scheme was originally oriented to the east like an Episcopalian church but was rotated to face Orange Street at the insistence of congregation member Charles Howell, who seems to have modified Carver's designs. The tower was described as “insignificant” and was replaced in 1877 with a Victorian version of a colonial spire. That subsequently served as the point of departure for a full-fledged Colonial Revival remodeling by Urban, who installed a chunky version of Philadelphia's Christ Church spire ( PH4) and designed the broad column-free hall with nine spectacular Tiffany windows.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "First Presbyterian Church", [Lancaster, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 319-319.

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