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William Werner House


William Werner House, National Register of Historic Places.

Photo: William Werner House, National Register of Historic Places, Lititz, PA (June 2011).

The William Werner House (66 E. Main St.) was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1984. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [1] Adaptation copyright © 2008, The Gombach Group.

Description

The William Werner House, located at 66 East Main Street in the town of Lititz, is an example of the influence of English Georgian design on regional Germanic construction in Lancaster County. The trend in the architecture of the area was toward a general air of uniformity and formality. While German interiors and central chimney construction were often maintained, proportions were altered and the roofline lowered to conform to changing tastes. A regular four-bay facade with an offset doorway was typical of residential Lancaster County architecture during the 18th century. The Werner House exemplifies these transitional developments. The integrity of the simple village house, built in 1762, has been maintained except for an 1849 addition which expanded interior space and added dormers to the roof.

This one and one-half story frame structure stands in the heart of the community. It is set on a stone foundation, then covered by wattle and daub wall construction and clapboards. The house is small, two bays by two bays, with an inside measurement of 30 feet by 36 feet. A comparatively steep gable and sloping rear roof line have been retained, sheathed in slate shingles.

A stone porch with wooden side benches leads to the front entrance. This main door sits off-center in the facade's third bay from the east. It is panelled, with a leaded glass transom. In the remaining three bays of the facade are large six over six windows with three-panel shutters. These windows are original to the house.

The slate covered gable roof was originally unembellished. In 1849 two gable roofed dormers were added. A large twelve-over-six Palladian window is located in each dormer. A central brick chimney rises above the roof line.

In addition to adding two front dormers, the 1849 alteration enlarged the rear of the house. This rear addition measuring 13 1/2 feet by 29 feet, serves as a kitchen today.

The interior of the William Werner house is Germanic in character, with two main rooms on the first floor and an attic story. A unique feature in the house is a two-faced clock built in to the wall between the two rooms. The front of the clock faces the vestibule which has served as a bank and store. The back of the clock, showing the clock works and a second face, opens to the middle room. This clock was made by a locally significant clockmaker William Henry Hall of Lititz, who is known for painting the clock dial at the Ephrata Academy. A prominent citizen, he was a teacher at the Nazareth Hall School and Lititz Academy.

Associated with the Werner Home are three outbuildings; a small gazebo, a gable-roofed cement block garage, and a one story, gable roof frame shed.

Significance

The William Werner house, located in the center of the town of Lititz, is locally significant for its relationship to the architectural and commercial history of the community. Werner; the town cooper, tooth drawer, and phlebotomist, built his one and one half story wattle and daub walled house in 1762. The Werner house illustrates the transition from regional Germanic building techniques to the more refined English Georgian architecture. It stands today as one of the best preserved, least altered homes of the 18th century in Lancaster County.

Lititz was established by the Moravian Brethren as early as 1754. In that year, George Klein conveyed 600 acres of land to the church. The town was not surveyed until 1757, when Reverend Nathaniel Seidel and John Reuter were sent from the Moravian settlement of Bethlehem, Northampton County to lay the village out in lots. The plan called for a main street running southeast by northwest; as well as a central square as the focal point for major structures. Werner built his home on one of the Main Street lots.

The architecture of the building is significant as an illustration of Lancaster County's blend of Germanic traditions and English influences. Regional Germanic motifs such as a central chimney and steep roof are present, but the design also has an air of formality and regularity found in English designs. The Georgian character is also expressed in the regular proportions an window spacing. By retaining its integrity, the William Werner House exemplifies the maturation of the built environment from the medieval homes of the early settlers to the more classical structures being built in the planned communities during the late 18th century.

In his home, Werner set up shop as the town cooper, tooth drawer, and phlebotomist. Historically, he was located in the core of the business district that flanked the Moravian Square. The house also doubled as the town bank and the safe is still present. During the early 1800s, it served as a store. Its unusual double clock by a local craftsman, William Henry Hall, adds to the local historic significance of the house. The village itself ceased to be a closed, church-owned town in 1855.

References

Ellis, Franklin & Samuel Evans. History of Lancaster County, Pennsylvania. Philadelphia: Everts & Peck, 1883, p. 1074.

Lancaster Co. Planning Comm. Lancaster's Heritage. L.C.P.C., 1972, p 6.

Murtaugh, William J. Moravian Architecture and Town Planning. Chapel Hill: U.N.C. 1967, p. 104.

Woods, Stacy B.C., Jr. & Stephen E. Krane III. Clockmakers of Lancaster Co. & Their Clocks, 1750-1850. New York: Van Rostran Reinhold Co. 1977, p. 2.

  1. Rupp, Laura, Pennsylvania Historical and Museum Commission, William Werner House, nomination document, 1984, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.

William Werner House Map

Street Names
Main Street East

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