Jersey Shore Historic District
The Jersey Shore Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975. Portions of the content on this web page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document. [‡]
See also: Jersey Shore Borough — Beginnings
Most of the historic structures in this district remain on their original sites and are well preserved. The most significant and representative buildings are:
- The Lawshe, Abraham, House, c. 1840, is a two story common bond brick dwelling which has a five bay symmetric facade. The rectangular front entrance has sidelights and a full width transom. Window lintels are decorated with symmetrically moulded trim with corner blocks decorated with concentric circles. The 6/6 sashes are double hung and the first story windows are equipped with four panel shutters; the second story windows are equipped with louvered shutters. This structure exhibits the characteristic sloping gables with twin chimneys found throughout the district. The layout is rectangular with a two story full width porch across the rear of the building. There is a one story front porch which continues around to the east side. This is a latter addition and is decorated with small brackets and dentils.
- The Gallauher-Webb House, c. 1842, is a two story L-shaped brick structure which has seven bays across the front and two front entrances, both rectangular and recessed. Sidelights and toplight frame the doors which have two vertical panels. These openings are finished with flat pilasters and matching entablature. However, one of the entrances has a one-bay, one story porch with fluted Ionic columns. The double hung sashes are 6/6; frames have plain lintels and corner blocks. The windows are equipped with recessed paneled shutters, first story and louvered shutters, second story. The stepped gables contain twin chimneys, and there is one interior chimney between the third and fourth bays. The eaves contain a dentiled architrave, plain frieze, and cornice.
- The Slonaker, Mark, House, c. 1845, is a two story L-shaped five bay symmetric facade frame dwelling which has an early application of vertical board and chamfered batten siding. Horizontal siding now covers all exterior wall surfaces except the front facade. The most outstanding feature is the full-height pedimented portico (three bays), with four equally spaced fluted Ionic columns. There is a circular window in the tympan of the triangular pediment and the Ionic entablature of the pediment is carried out on both sides to form the roof cornice treatment. There are inside end chimneys in the front section with corbeled caps. There is a chimney in the rear wall of the back section which may be of a much earlier date. There is evidence to indicate earlier double hung 4/4 window sashes; they are now 1/1. The first story windows were all treated with cornices; those of the front facade remain. All first story windows are equipped with recessed paneled shutters; second story windows with louvered shutters. A railing from a canal boat caught in the canal lock behind the site in the 1889 flood has been installed as the stairwell railing in the attic of this dwelling.
- The Stone-Nice House, c. 1845, is a two story Flemish bond brick three bay dwelling which has withstood the vicissitudes of taste and retains many of its original interior and exterior features. The interior is representative of many interiors of historic dwellings in the district. Details include: shouldered architrave door and window trim, recessed two panel doors, moulded plaster ceiling cornices and ceiling panels, and chair rails. The fireplace openings are framed by plain pilasters, plain frieze and simple mantel shelf. This example is fortunate in still retaining its very early wooden venetian blinds (bell and flower design), box locks and other door hardware, and much of its early window glass. The gable ends reflect the traditional sloping profile with the eastern gable containing one chimney. These gables contain wooden corner lintels. The front entrance is recessed and contains a two panel door, sidelights, and a toplight. These elements are framed by flat pilasters and a Tuscan order entablature. The double hung window sashes are 6/6 and the plain window lintels and corner blocks are somewhat over sized. The first story windows are equipped with recessed panel shutters and the second story windows are equipped with louvered shutters. The layout is U-shaped with a two story porch filling the space.
- The Bailey-Allen House, c. 1850. Vertical board and chamfered batten siding makes a significant contribution to the Greek Revival expression of this L-shaped two story frame dwelling. The facade is symmetric with five bays and a recessed front entrance. This entrance is a representative form for the district and has sidelights, toplight and a four panel door all framed by flat pilasters and matching entablature. The gable roof changes angle in the front to accommodate the full width modified Doric entablature resting on corner pilasters. There are inside end chimneys for the main section. Other notable features include the architrave trim of the windows and the recessed rectangular panels set below the first story windows of the front facade. The double hung 6/6 sashes appear to be original as well as the recessed panel shutters for the first floor window and the louvered shutters for the second floor window. The rear ell contains a two story recessed porch.
- The Sanderson-Sebring House, c. 1852 is a two story three bay U-shaped Flemish bond brick dwelling which is a fine example of the Greek Revival architecture during its final phases. We find here the traditional sloping gable profile, but the most outstanding features are the deeply recessed front entrance framed by coupled pilasters and elaborate entablature., and the Gothic inspired panels set between the oblong window in the frieze. These panels are almost identical to those used for the L. A. Mackey House at Lock Haven which is known to have been constructed by the regional architect-builder, Henry Hipple.
- The Samuel Humes Building, 1852. Originally a store and residence, this two and one-half story U-shaped common bond brick structure was constructed by the builder, Alexander Smith. Examination of the south end of the front facade reveals that part of the first story from the doorway to the southern end was originally a store front with a centrally located and recessed entrance. The store front was later removed and the space remodeled in a manner consistent with the architecture of the building. The front facade is symmetric with two adjacent similarly treated entrances. The sloping gables contain twin chimneys connected with a parapet. The roof cornice is bracketed, and has a paneled frieze containing six oblong windows. The brick of the front facade is set up with very fine joints. The windows (now 1/1) were 4/4 double hung sashes enhanced by architraves which decorate the window lintels. These architraves have a Greek Key moulding and a centrally placed applied panel. The windows, both first and second stories were equipped with recessed panel shutters. There is a triple window in the north gable which is decorated with corbels below the sill and S scrolls above the lintels. Again we find in this structure the deeply recessed front entrances so characteristic of this district.
- The Moran-Trump House, 1855. This house was constructed by the son of John Knox, master builder of nearby Salladasburg. The structure is a two and one-half story common bond brick L-shaped dwelling with a symmetric five bay facade. There are characteristic sloping gables with twin chimneys. The gabled dormer window of the front facade contain a Gothic inspired vergeboard. The deeply recessed front entrance was most certainly influenced by similar entrances of earlier Greek Revival buildings in Jersey Shore. Bold consoles are set in the entablature of this entrance.
- The West Branch Seminary Dormitory Building, 1856. Of particular interest is the way in which the walls of this three and one-half story brick building are set off in panels by strips of brick. These strips represent pilasters of a modified Tuscan Order. This five and three bay, L-shaped building exhibits the end gables so popular in Jersey Shore up to the time of the Civil War.
- The McHenry-Cline House, c. 1885 started its life in the early 1850's as a story and one-half Greek Revival style dwelling complete with a full height pedimented portico treated in the Ionic manner. In about 1885, the house received its present exterior alterations. In its present form the structure is a two and one-half story frame dwelling with a hip roof complete with a deck and elaborate metal roof cresting. The eaves are projecting and are equipped with bracket pairs. A full height one-bay porch with coupled Ionic fluted columns (borrowed from the original treatment) for the first story, turned columns for the second story (treated as a porch) and all topped with a large porch gable. Basic symmetry is predominate with irregularity introduced through a two story rectangular window bay topped with a dormer on the south side and a smaller dormer on the north side. Walls are faced with vertical bard and batten complete with pilasters for the first story (again from the original treatment) and horizontal clapboards for the second story. Chimneys are treated as important features and are decorated with modeled in cuts. The main entrance centrally located in the three bay facade remains from the original as well as the two triple windows (with recessed panels below), on each side of the entrance. Diagonal and circular stickwork is employed on the window bay and the face of the porch gable.
The major historic buildings of the period 1830-1860 form pivot points in clearly identifiable linkages of Gothic Revival frame structures.
By 1850, nearly all the important merchants and businessmen were well established in Jersey Shore. It is this group of men who were responsible for many fine examples of Greek Revival style buildings in the District. Typical of the men of their time, education was considered important and the Jersey Shore Academy was started very early in the town's history. This educational institution was superseded by the West Branch Seminary in the early 1850's. This educational institution was known throughout the state for its excellence. The practice of law also got an early start in Jersey Shore upon the arrival of Anson V. Parsons in 1824, who later became a statewide figure in the judicial affairs of the Commonwealth. Mr. Parsons studied in the law office of Andrew Porter, later Governor Porter, before settling in Jersey Shore. In 1843, the then Governor Porter appointed his friend, the Secretary of the Commonwealth. Mr. Parsons, soon after that was elected State Senator, but before the expiration of his term he was appointed President Judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Philadelphia. Anson V. Parsons is best known, however, as the author of the legal treatise entitled, "Parson's Equity Cases."
At the peak of its influence, the town had three hotels, four eating saloons, fourteen stores, one iron foundry, two tanneries, and a large number of retail shops. The store rooms were unusually elegant for the period and place, and a large quantity of goods were sold. Most of the historic buildings in the district are related to the mercantile community that flourished here. They are individually significant as follows:
- The Lawshe House was first owned by Abraham Lawshe the owner of the largest tannery in Jersey Shore. Mr. Lawshe had two families each of which gave rise to elected political leaders on the state and national level. During the early part of the 19th century, Jersey Shore was the political and social center or this part of the Commonwealth and the Lawshe home was the focal point of this activity.
- The Gallauher-Webb House is a representative example containing most of the design elements of the early Greek Revival style in this district.
- The Mark Slonaker House exhibits a noteworthy full height portico with fluted Ionic columns. Mark Slonaker, Esq. was the son of one of the wealthiest early land owners in contiguous Porter Township. He was representative of the many early Jersey Shore residents who demonstrated pride in his community by being the sponsor of several significant civic improvements.
- The Stone-Nice House is representative of the many three bay side hall brick dwellings found in the district. Especially significant is the close to original condition of this building. George F. Stone and George P. Nice were both merchants.
- The Bailey-Allen House is located on land that was placed in trust to Isabella White the only daughter of Colonel Hugh White, by her husband Robert S. Bailey Sr. who was a member of the Bailey family prominent in very early local affairs. The widow, Mrs. Bailey, married in 1853, James S. Allen Colonel Allen was the operator of the Franklin House, a local hotel that was famous among the stage coach travelers of the day. James Allen was a widely traveled man for his time and wag much involved in the political affairs of early Jersey Shore.
- The Sanderson-Sebring House is representative of the several brick buildings in the district which employ design elements from the latter part of the Greek Revival style period. J. J. Sanderson and Robert A. Sebring were both prominent men in the business affairs of the community.
- The Samuel Humes Building. Much is known about this building because its first owner Samuel Humes, deposited a block of pine in a column on April 9, 1853 on which the vital statistics concerning the building were inscribed. The builder was Alexander Smith. Phillip Stout who laid up the cellar wall is mentioned in the 1850 census as a stone mason. Plastering and papering were done by George A Cramer and his daughter. George Cramer is listed as a plasterer in the 1850 census. The names of other workmen are also mentioned. The architrave trim of the windows is the most outstanding design feature of this architecturally noteworthy building. Samuel Humes was a very successful local merchant.
- The Moran-Trump House. Mr. Trump was long associated with lumbering interests along Pine Creek. The visual statement made by the Moran-Trump House gives a real sense of time and place.
- The West Branch Seminary Dormitory Building demonstrates the adaptiveness of the Greek Revival Style evidenced in this district.
- The McHenry-Cline House, although not representative of other buildings in the district, nevertheless makes an outstanding statement and serves as a focal point for the district. Captain Alexander H. McHenry received the training for his life's work, field surveying, with an engineer corps in 1833. It is said that he was the best informed man on land titles in northern Pennsylvania. In 1839 he was appointed deputy surveyor of a very large district comprised of Sullivan, Lycoming, and Clinton counties. He was one of the founders of the Jersey Shore, Pine Creek, and State Line Railroad Co. In 1856 he was one of the commissioners to organize the Jersey Shore State Bank and in 1857 he was one of the corporators of the Jersey Shore Gas Co. He was characteristic of the men in Jersey Shore who took great pride in his community.
The significance of the architecture in the district is the demonstration of the adaptiveness of the Greek Revival style to traditional building forms used for a variety of purposes. The architecture also reflects the manner of men and women who brought their spirit to life through these buildings. We too often ignore the buildings left to us by the thousands of new American heroes of the period after the revolution and before the Civil War. When we investigate the manner of the men and women who created a great country from a wilderness, we find individuals who represent a sort of American ideal. They were hard working, enthusiastic about education and reading, and generally evidenced a high standard of taste. Such a group of men and women where responsible for Historic Jersey Shore.
Lloyd, Thomas W., History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, Historical Publishing Co., Topeka-Indianapolis, 1929, Vol. I, pages 159-163.
Maginnes, John F., History of Lycoming County, Pennsylvania, Brown, Runk & Co. Publishers, Chicago, Ill., 1892, pages 485-498, 1039-1084.
‡ Wagner, Dean R., Jersey Shore Historic District, nomination document, 1974, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.
Allegheny Street • Arch Street • Arch Street • Bank Avenue • Bickel Alley • Broad Street North • Broad Street South • Bubbs Lane • Burke Street • Campbell Street • Cemetery Street • Cherry Alley South • Front Street • Hazel Alley • Junod Alley • Locust Street • Main Street • Market Street • McClintock Alley • Nelson Street • Pennsylvania Avenue • Route 44 • Seminary Street • Smith Street • Thompson Street • Tomb Avenue • Washington Avenue • Wilson Street