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York County Courthouse

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1898, John A. Dempwolf; 1957, Clarence Forrer. 28 E. Market St.
  • (Photograph by Matthew Aungst)
  • (© George E. Thomas)

East Market Street is less commercial than W. Market Street and contains several of York's principal institutions. It also has something of the feeling of the larger Philadelphia residential streets. The chief landmark is the courthouse that was transferred to this site from its constricted Center Square location in 1841. Constructed between 1837 and 1840, apparently from designs by John Haviland, it had one of the earliest classical pedimented facades in Pennsylvania, which was carried on Ionic columns like the slightly earlier courthouse in Centre County. Outgrown by the end of the century, it was essentially rebuilt by Dempwolf, who managed to reuse the original six columns by elevating them on granite bases to fit a grander portico. His building was clad in Pompeian brick on the order of the Colonial Hotel (YO9), with light-hued granite trim. However, that Victorian color scheme was colonialized when the building was massively and crudely enlarged in 1957 by local architect Clarence Forrer, who replaced Dempwolf's brick with a thin red brick. Some of the vigor of Dempwolf's detail can be seen in the three crowning domes, one of which lighted the main stairwell in the center of the building. In 1999, the HOK Architects division from Washington, D.C., was selected to create the new county office building at E. Philadelphia and N. George streets.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas



  • 1898

  • 1957


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "York County Courthouse", [York, 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, 357-357.

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