The Glen Rock Municipal Building is located at 13 Baltimore Street, Glen Rock, PA 17327; phone 717‑235‑3206.
Glen Rock Borough was incorporated in 1859. It is slightly more than 1/2 square mile in area.
The Glen Rock Historic District was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1997. Portions of the content on this page were adapted from a copy of the original nomination document (Kevin Hodge, Glen Rock Historic District, 1997, nomination document, National Park Service, National Register of Historic Places, Washington, D.C.) adaptation copyright © 2011, The Gombach Group.
Glen Rock is located in the northwest corner of Shrewsbury Township in south central York County. The historic district lies across pronounced hill and valley terrain and encompasses all the major streets in Glen Rock Borough. The surrounding hills, rising nearly 250 feet above the creek, and the Codorus Creek Valley define the topographic character of the district. State Routes 616 and the Northern Central Railway, the major transportation routes through the district, flank the Codorus on the valley floor. In the center of the district lies a wide flood plain, historically known as the "meadows." The district extends radially from the "meadows" up smaller watersheds and along the Codorus Creek. Also included are smaller streets and alleys which parallel the higher slopes of the hills. Buildings tend to line the streets without setback except where excessive oracle steepness requires. The resources are divided into residential, commercial, institutional and industrial based on number of contributing resources. Most residential buildings are large, two and one-half story examples with frame construction, although a sizable minority of masonry types exists. Many houses follow a vernacular mode with a few style elements draped on popular house plans, such as German 4/4, Georgian double pile, sidehall townhouse, tri-gable ell and Foursquare. Later, national styles represent the majority of buildings with a few architect designed houses. Most architectural styles common from 1838-1945 are represented with Queen Anne, Craftsman, vernacular Germanic, vernacular Georgian, and Colonial Revival designs the most numerous in the district. Commercial buildings are somewhat larger than residences and may be constructed of masonry or wood. Institutional buildings such as churches and public facilities exhibit the most elaborate architectural designs in large, masonry buildings. Industrial resources are also typically large, masonry buildings but have simple utilitarian designs. The district's distribution of property types continues to reflect its historic character despite the loss of integrity among several individual buildings, especially in the industrial area. Seventy-eight percent of all buildings in the district contribute to its significance. Forty-three percent of the non-contributing designations are due to recent construction. There are three hundred and sixty-five buildings, seven structures and one site in the district.
Main Street (State Routes 616 and 216), the South Branch of the Codorus Creek, and the Northern Central Railway run through the district from southeast to northwest. Manchester Street (S R 216) ascends to the southwest from the Baltimore/Hanover Streets intersection. All but the western end of the "meadows" is bounded by Main Street and the eastern section of Hanover Street. Church Street and the southwestern section of Hanover Street rise up the middle of two of the watersheds. Manchester and Pleasant Streets and Valley Street and Argyle Avenue rise in tandem on either side of two other watersheds. The remaining streets of the district lie higher on the slopes of the surrounding hills parallel to the aforementioned streets. These are New and Winter Streets, Glen, Cottage and Park Avenues, and Hayward and Terrace Heights.
Buildings in the district are closely spaced on small rectangular lots with density highest in the residential areas and least in the industrial area. Outside the "meadow's," level ground is rare. This topography creates two distinct relationships between streets, buildings and the surrounding grade. The first has the building on the street line with a steeply sloping grade above or below. This accounts for many of the houses with entries at two levels. Examples can be found along upper Hanover Street, the west side of Church Street and the southwestern side of Baltimore Street. The second relationship has the building still fairly close to the street but with a redesign of the natural grade to allow a more level building area. This is most commonly seen in raised platforms above the street with very steep slopes between the house and street, of ten with a retaining wall. Examples include lower Hanover Street, the east side of Church Street, and Terrace Heights. Such a grade redesign is also found where hill slopes have been cut away to provide level building ground, as on the northeast side of Main Street. The arrangement of streets combined with densely spaced buildings very close to the road creates a distinctive built landscape as rows of houses line the sloping hillsides.
The residential neighborhoods are spread out along the primary roads which radiate from the valley floor up the surrounding watersheds. Residences represent the overwhelming majority of contributing resources at roughly eighty-one percent (80% of all residential buildings contribute). Hanover, Manchester, Pleasant, Baltimore, Valley and Church Streets and Argyle Avenue are predominantly residential in character and rise up watersheds. Cottage, Glen and Park Avenues and Hayward and Terrace Heights are entirely residential streets parallel to and upslope from the other streets. The commercial area forms a crescent stretching along Main Street from the Manchester/Baltimore Streets intersection through Water Street. Twelve percent of all contributing resources are commercial (70% of these contribute). A diffuse institutional area is located around the Manchester and Baltimore Streets intersection. These buildings make up three percent of the contributing total (89% contribute). The industrial heart of the district lies in the "meadows" along the Codorus and adjacent to the transportation corridors. This industrial area continues southeast, flanking the creek and the railroad along Baltimore and Junior Streets. Industrial buildings account for two percent of all contributing resources (86% contribute).
Most residential buildings are two and one-half stories, frame construction and decorated simply. Although the majority of houses are detached single family dwellings, there are many semi-detached units, especially for worker housing Many of the larger houses, those of merchants and industrialists, are constructed of brick and wood. These exhibit more stylistic features reflecting greater financial means of their inhabitants. The densest concentrations of worker housing are found low in the flood plain along Baltimore and Junior Streets and Argyle Avenue. Homes of merchants and industrialists are found on higher ground along the west side of Church Street, the south side of Hanover Street, and commanding a view of town from Cottage Avenue and Hayward Heights. Commercial buildings are built of both brick and wood and are slightly larger than most houses. Many have residential space above the ground floor, as few commercial buildings are solely devoted to business use. Institutional buildings exhibit the finest materials and the most stylistic features. They are only one or two stories tall but have a larger scale than residential buildings. Most industrial buildings exhibit few stylistic features. These buildings are three or four stories tall and usually built of brick.
There are relatively few contributing resources remaining from the period between the completion of the Northern Central Railway in 1838 and the Civil War. The district experienced its largest amount of construction between the Civil and First World War, when around sixty-five percent of the district's contributing buildings were constructed. A local financial scandal and bankruptcy of the borough's leading industry in 1886 slowed construction for several years, dividing the above period of growth. This expansion corresponds to a concurrent four fold increase in population and a vigorous growth in industry and commerce. A final period of moderate growth stretched between World Wars I and II. The most common style of contributing building is Queen Anne (17%), followed by Craftsman (15%), vernacular Germanic (14%), vernacular Georgian (13%), Colonial Revival (9%), Victorian Gothic (5%), Utilitarian and Federal (5% each), Italianate and I-houses (4% each), and several others accounting for two percent or less.
The oldest extant contributing buildings within the district were constructed as residences in a vernacular Germanic or Georgian mode. These resources survived because they are not in the industrial/commercial center of town which has changed considerably since the Civil War. Most are associated with pre-existing farms or early industrialists who founded the town. An example of the former stands south of the town center on Manchester Street (tax parcel 1-24). This house was originally associated with Philip Sheffer, who built it circa 1840. The frame, two and one-half story, two bay, vernacular Germanic dwelling has a stone foundation, full porch with turned posts and 6/6 windows. At the bottom of the small valley behind the house is a cluster of farm buildings.
A surviving industrialist's house is located between Cottage Avenue and Codorus Creek, on the edge of the "meadows" next to a steeply sloping hill. This stone house was probably constructed circa 1850 by William H. Heathcote, son of Mark Heathcote. The vernacular Georgian resource is two and one-half stories in height, three bays wide and two bays deep. The building possesses few distinctive architectural features other than its massive fieldstone construction, but does have 6/6 sash windows, close cropped eaves and a shed roof porch (although not the original).
Built throughout the 19th century, vernacular Germanic and Georgian residences are common in the district. A circa 1870 example is 153 Hanover Street which represents the many vernacular Germanic resources having few style-specific features. This brick, two and one-half story building has four bays with two doors, 6/6 windows and a full, two story porch over an exposed basement. Supporting porch posts are square at the basement level and turned on the first story. Both porch and building entablatures are straightforward with simple modillion blocks as the only decoration.
A good example of the Italianate residences constructed during the post Civil War period is 20 Church Street. This circa 1870, two and one-half story, brick building sits directly on the street line and has three bays, segmentally arched windows and lintels, a detailed entablature with modillions, dentils and a decorated frieze. The building has an added two-thirds porch but retains its integrity. 30-32 Hanover Street shows that some styles enjoyed long periods of popularity. This large brick, two and one-half story, five bay building with basement features a double pile Georgian plan with Federal, Greek Revival and later Italianate details. Built between 1860 and 1876, it was the residence of Josiah Hoshour, one of the wealthiest industrialists in Glen Rock. The house has splayed lintels, 6/6 windows, a large entrance with rectangular transom and sidelights, a full one story porch with round columns and three gable dormers. At a later date Italianate style brackets have been added to the Federal style cornice. Despite the addition of a modern entrance lower on the hill, the house maintains its integrity.
Queen Anne and Victorian Gothic were predominant residential styles between the 1886 financial scandal and WW I. The most concentrated grouping of Queen Anne style houses is located along Cottage Avenue. Here three-quarters of the residences are constructed in this style, and several are quite elaborate. The most notable example is located in the bend of Cottage venue. Known as the "Castle," this two and one-half story frame building features complex massing, a three story turret topped by a conical roof, a two and one-half story bay window and four porches. The gable ends are shingled, and many Queen Anne sash are evident. The elaborate "Castle" was built in 1889 by Joseph Dise with different siding profiles on each building face to showcase both the new Cottage Avenue development which he opened and the finished mill work which his company produced.
Victorian Gothic houses are found only on the south side of the district, particularly on Manchester and Hanover Streets. These houses generally have four bays with two doors, characteristic of later vernacular Germanic houses. The defining feature of this type is a large cross gable, often shingled, centered on the eave side. These houses may also have oriel windows and front porches with either Victorian detailing or later Craftsman influenced designs. A good example is 143 Hanover Street which has three bays and two and one-half stories. This circa 1870, brick building has a central cross gable, paired brackets and wide frieze, stained glass sash in the gable and a full two story porch with squared posts and balusters. The Gothic influence is also seen in the double chevron shaped lintels over coupled 1/1 windows. Another example may be found at 74 Manchester Street. This circa 1895, two and one-half story, brick building has a central cross gable, four bays, two doors and a full Victorian style porch with turned posts and decoration.
Two architectural features from this period are found in residential architecture. The first is a bay window, usually in the form of a cantilevered oriel. These are either one or two stories tall, although a few are three stories, and were often added to an earlier building. They are usually placed on the facade of a building and occasionally on the side. There are many examples with two matching pairs on either side of the facade, often with a multi-story balcony between them. The second, more unusual, feature of this period is a cutaway corner, forming a polygonal profile. The roof configuration above this cut-away feature is almost always a gable, which overhangs and accentuates the polygonal profile below. Large brackets are commonly used to make the transition between cornice and wall.
An excellent example incorporating many of these design options is 39-43 Main Street. Constructed circa 1870, it was remodeled twice by 1924. This three story, brick veneered building has twin two story polygonal oriel windows with an intervening balcony on the second and third stories. The oriel windows are placed at the very edge of the facade so that one face of the polygonal oriel acts as a cut-away corner. In this example the roof above the corner is hipped to each face of the polygon rather than the usual gabled corner. An unusual use of the cut away corner is on a Georgian plan, opposed to a tri-gable ell plan with a projecting pavilion where this feature is fairly common. For example, 216 Hanover Street has a single cut away corner on a rectangular frame building built circa 1890. This two and one-half story resource has a stone foundation, vinyl siding over the original sheathing and an asphalt shingle roof. The four bays, cross gable and three-quarter porch with turned posts and balusters identify the building as Victorian Gothic style .
Craftsman and Colonial Revival style residences were the most common type built between 1917-1945. The Craftsman style house at 29 Hayward Heights overlooks the borough. This one and one-half story, frame building has a wrap around porch with raised stone clad pier supports, multiple dormers, six light casements, 1/1 windows and some art glass sash. The grounds to this property include a small terrace and winding walkway which descends several flights of stairs to Main Street. Strong Colonial Revival influences on the complex tri-gable ell massing of a Queen Anne building can be found at 34 Glen Avenue. This late example of Queen Anne architecture was constructed circa 1920. The two and one-half story, brick building has a Palladian window and pebbledash cladding in the front gable, a gambrel roof, large 1/1 windows, a stone foundation and a full, classically inspired porch with round columns and simple entablature. Eight modernist influenced Colonial Revival houses form a single development near the end of Hanover Street. Built at close of World War II, they were originally identical but have experienced sheathing and porch alterations common in the district. Representing the group, 252 Hanover is a two story, three bay building with an asphalt shingle roof, stuccoed walls, a concrete foundation, 1/1 windows and a one story hipped porch.
Early commercial resources tend be a combination of commerce and residence with the business located on the first floor. A circa 1850 example is 8-10 Manchester Street, originally a tailor's shop and residence. This brick, two and one-half story Federal style house/shop has five bays, end chimneys, and bracketed hoods over both doors. Later changes to the building include 2/2 windows and a polygonal oriel window. A post Civil War commercial/residential building is 17 Main Street. This circa 1885, two story frame building is adjacent to the railroad tracks. Originally an office and residence, the oblong building has large showcase windows around the first floor entrance and a second story balcony with turned posts and Italianate decoration.
By the turn of the century elaborate buildings devoted solely to commerce were more common. The Peoples Bank of Glen Rock was built in Neoclassical style with Roman brick, granite and limestone materials. Built in 1912 on the southwest corner of Baltimore and Hanover Streets, the one story bank includes a robust limestone entablature with dentils and a frieze inscription reading "PEOPLES BANK OF GLEN ROCK." Engaged pilasters with brick shafts and a granite base support the entablature, and a modest parapet rests above that. The main entrance is located on the northeast corner in a squared pavilion containing two Tuscan columns in antis. The entrance features a limestone hood with scroll brackets and dentils. An elaborate cartouche with a 1912 date marker surmounts the entablature.
Most commercial resources have simpler decoration, however. The Glen Theatre on Manchester Street exhibits early 20th century commercial style. Constructed as a performance hall in 1913 for the Glen Rock Band, this brick building features a marquee supported by thin iron posts and lit by rows of bare incandescent light bulbs. The other distinguishing feature of the two story theatre is the decorative use of various brick faces to adorn the flat surfaces of the facade. Neuhaus'es [sic], built in 1922 on tax parcel 3-26, also exhibits 20th century commercial style with concrete block construction and a brick veneer which has decorative brick patterns along the sides of the facade. The building has a modest parapet, an inset porch with masonry piers and 6/6 wooden windows, grouped in sets of four at the outer bays of the facade.
There are no contributing institutional resources from before the 1886 foundry bankruptcy. This is due to the scarcity of this type of resource in a young community and to the significant alteration of the few churches and schools from the borough's first fifty years. However, notable examples of institutional buildings erected in various styles between 1886 and 1917 exist. The Glen Rock Hose and Ladder Company and the Zion Evangelical Lutheran Church reflect Romanesque Revival style. Located on Hanover Street (east of Water Street), both were designed by Joseph Dise, a wealthy merchant who had some formal architectural training. The 1904 Hose and Ladder Company building features a rusticated brick basement, Tudor arched doorways under Florentine lintels on either side of the truck entrance, segmental arched windows on the first floor and round arched windows on the third floor. The castellated roof line, above a large bracketed cornice, is representative of Gothic Revival design. The 1905 Zion Lutheran Church features rough-faced ashlar granite walls and tripartite groups of round-arched rose windows with wooden mullions. The parapet gable walls have a series of small arched corbels below the coping stones. The design also includes a two and a three story tower in the corners of the cross gable roof. These towers also have castellated parapets suggesting that Dise liked to include this Gothic Revival feature in otherwise Romanesque Revival designs.
The Immanuel United Methodist Church is an important institutional building constructed after World War I. The 1926 brick church is located on the corner of Church and New Streets was added to an 1870 church, thereby reorienting the nave. The 1926 section faces Church Street and extends four bays along New Street to join the original 1870 church. The later building's most notable feature is a central nave pavilion with a large gable pediment supported by four colossal, concrete pilasters. Modillions and dentils decorate the pediment entablature. A segmental entablature supported by scroll brackets crowns the main entrance to the building. One story side aisles are topped at the Church Street facade by awkwardly designed wood exedras. The rear 1870 section fronted on New Street and originally had an entrance/bell tower on the south front. This building has two story round arched windows with stained glass on the west side which lit the former nave. The narthex facade has two stories of windows, arched above and squared below.
There are no contributing industrial buildings from before 1886, however an industrial ruin, two contributing bridge structures, and the railroad bed with one remaining track date from this period. The ruin, on tax parcel 3-153, is the site of third Radcliffe and Shaw rope walk, which collapsed from disrepair in 1896. No known disturbances have occurred, but there is insufficient information to assess its potential archaeological value. The most prominent remaining feature is a 120 yard long, rubble fieldstone foundation running perpendicular to the fall line of the hill. The 1853 building was partially shed roofed and used horsepower for rope and twine manufacture. The best bridge example is a circa 1871 Northern Central Railway bridge over the Codorus Creek at the far northwest border of the district. This riveted plate girder, fourteen unit pony bridge has two parallel decks and rests on large ashlar limestone abutments. The skewed span is roughly fifty eight feet long and thirty one feet wide, rising about fifteen feet above the creek. The roadbed was designed for two tracks and included several sidings to nearby industries. Since the period of significance, one track and the sidings have been converted to asphalt roadway, paved over, or removed entirely.
A third period, 1886-1917, industrial building is the Industrial Sewing Company at 47 Baltimore Street. Built in 1916, this thirty-one bay, three story utilitarian factory features large 8/6 windows, a low pitch composition roof and fire resistant construction with brick walls, chamfered posts and beveled beam ends. Converted to apartment use in the 1980s, the building retains integrity.
Post-World War I industrial buildings tend to be very simple, utilitarian buildings. Two examples are the Glen Traditionals building and the Accufab building. The first, built in 1921 at 205 Hill Street (end of Cottage Avenue) is a two story concrete block resource painted white with various types of metal windows, a composition roof with skylights and a tall, metal industrial hopper on the roof. Connected to this large industrial building is an office wing of the same construction with six bays, horizontally oriented 2/2 windows, 6/6 windows and a small porch sheltering two doors. The Accufab building was built circa 1938 on the former foundry site, 34-40 Main Street. This two story building is also concrete block, but it has a brick facade. Features include doubled doors at a former loading dock on the side of the facade and 20 light metal industrial windows with pivoting central sections.
Most non-contributing designations result from extensive changes to the original building. However, these resources retain some qualities associated with historic integrity, such as location and setting. The most common changes to contributing buildings include the addition or alteration of wall sheathing with vinyl, aluminum or Transite and roof sheathing with fiberglass or asbestos shingles. Common porch alterations include thin iron trellis posts or unpainted, pressure treated four inch posts. Over seventy percent of all buildings have at least one of these alterations. Non-contributing buildings have at least two or three modern alterations to their original design which could not be easily reversed. Common alterations other than those above include window and door alterations, removal of details, and major additions or subtractions from the building mass.
Non-contributing buildings are evenly distributed throughout the district, except for one concentration at the center of town. The oldest resources generally have the highest percentages of non-contributing designations, especially vernacular style residences and early industrial and commercial buildings. Vernacular buildings typically have fewer identifying stylistic characteristics. Therefore, fewer alterations result in non-contributing status compared with more elaborate buildings. Furthermore, a higher percentage of alterations are found in lower income residential areas where economy may have been paramount to owners, especially for rental properties. Commercial buildings have a high percentage of non-contributing designations for two reasons. First, merchants tend to periodically change the facades for a more contemporary commercial image. Second, several former industrial buildings were converted to commercial use. These conversions often destroyed the character of the original design. Changes also occurred within the period of significance. Common historic changes include additions/alterations to porches, the addition of oriel windows, and sheathing changes to walls and roofs.
Forty-three percent of the non-contributing designations are due to age. These are usually ranch style homes built on vacant lots and dispersed within concentrations of older residences. A non-contributing group of commercial resources along Main Street, from Church to Valley Streets, includes a modern bank, a gas station, a utilitarian commercial building, a bar and a recent municipal storage building. These recent buildings attest to a continued growth of the commercial sector as all but one was built on vacant land.
Since 1945, the district has experienced several changes. Much of the central industrial area has been either converted to new uses or demolished. The Enterprise Furniture complex (tax parcel 3-32), the railroad station, and the Heathcote mill complex (tax parcels 3-33 & 34) are examples of this trend. The Enterprise Furniture Company occupied several large brick buildings in the northwestern end of the "meadows". Many of the buildings have been demolished, and the upper three stories of the main building have been removed with drastic alterations to the remaining fenestration. The non-contributing building now houses commercial uses with residential space above. The 1854, three story brick railroad station, on Main Street at the foot of Church Street, was demolished in the 1960s.
The original Heathcote woolen mill illustrates how the repeated recycling of a building for various uses and the resulting physical changes destroy integrity. The mill is a three and one-half story brick mill building at the corner of Main and Water Streets. Originally a large vernacular Federal style mill, the slate roof has been replaced with asphalt. Many of the splayed arch windows have been altered to round arched examples, and the interior has been completely remodeled for use as a restaurant and inn. A late 19th century, two and one-half story, Mansard roofed, brick addition to the east has all its attic windows removed and lower floor windows altered significantly. The complex has served many functions including woolen, grist, saw and flour mill, general store, restaurant, inn and clothing store.
Despite a substantial number of non-contributing and lost resources, the district maintains integrity for several reasons. The feeling of the district, dense development influenced by difficult topography, is still apparent. Over three-quarters of the resources contribute to the significance of the district. A majority of the non-contributing resources due to alteration still retain some qualities of integrity such as location and setting, helping to delineate streetscapes. Overall, the district maintains its historical integrity in regard to location, design, setting, materials, workmanship, feeling and association.
The Glen Rock Historic District is ... significant [for its] contribution to the industrial development of York County as is evidenced by its being the third largest industrial producer in the county by the 1920s. The remaining industrial and commercial buildings, transportation structures, and the homes of workers, industrial and business leaders illustrate the character of this growth. The district is also locally significant in the area of Architecture for its concentrations of 19th century vernacular buildings and early 20th century styles built by local architects and builders such as Joseph Dise and Jesse Shewell. The most common styles are Queen Anne, Craftsman, and Germanic/Georgian styles, but other period styles are represented. These areas of significance began with the completion of the railroad in 1838 and continued through 1945. The regional transportation network of the Northern Central Railway, power generation potential of the Codorus Creek, and available capital and industrial expertise of early English and German settlers provided the spark to ignite the rapid growth of the Glen Rock Historic District. Restrictive topography, changes in transportation modes, development of power generation technology, and alterations of social pattern further shaped the character of the district. The post WW II period signaled a change in the character of the district concurrent with the decline of the railroad and industry and with greater suburban development.
The history of the district is presented in four roughly equal time periods, separated by five important national or local events affecting the district. These are the completion of the Northern Central Railway (1838), the beginning of the Civil War (1861), a local financial scandal and bankruptcy of the town's leading industry (1886), American entry into World War I (1917), and the end of World War II (1945). Within each period the district's history and context are narrated as reflected by the industrial, commercial, residential and institutional resources described previously.
Glen Rock and the surrounding area were first purchased circa 1750 from the Pennsylvania proprietors by Phillip Lau. This land lay adjacent to the Codorus Creek and included close to one hundred acres. Heirs of Lau sold the land to John G. Ehrman in 1794. With the purchase of this tract plus several others, Ehrman acquired nearly four hundred acres. Within a year of his death in 1828, his heirs sold the property to Simon Koller. He was the first to actually occupy the land, constructing a brick home, a barn and a saw mill (none of which remain) on or near Church Street. Several years after purchasing the tract of land, Simon Koller wished to relocate to relatives in Seneca County, Ohio.
William Heathcote (1806-89), who had emigrated from Cheshire, England in 1826, arrived in York County from Chester County where he and his brother Mark had worked in a woolen mill. Heathcote learned of the availability of Koller's land and, realizing its development potential, purchased 93 acres, for $3,425 on March 21,1837. He secured a patent for another eighteen acres in January of 1840. He then granted parcels to relatives who made up a sizable group of early immigrants to the area.
Two factors proved instrumental in the suitability of this land for industrial growth. The first was the South Branch of the Codorus Creek. Heathcote, with experience in the woolen industry in England and in America, realized the importance of the creek as a potential power source. The second factor was the Northern Central Railway, under construction through the area at the time. The route of the railroad would connect Baltimore and York, parsing directly through the valley tract. Combined with his capital and industrial expertise, Heathcote realized that he would have power for industry and extended markets for finished products. He soon began the construction of a three and one-half story brick woolen mill, now the Glen Rock Mill Inn. His brothers, John in Ohio and Mark in Chester County, helped establish the business, bringing machinery needed for the mill. The mill was powered by an underground race, no longer in existence, which conveyed water from a pond several hundred feet to the southeast; the associated dam was destroyed by the 1933 flood.
The Northern Central Railway completed the link between York and Baltimore in 1838. The village became known as Heathcote's Station and was one of the first nine stops on the railroad through York County. The access to materials and markets which the Northern Central provided had an enormous impact on the small town clustered around Heathcote's mill. During the next two decades several industrial and commercial ventures opened, transforming Heathcote's Station into a local agricultural and industrial nexus. The town's early mills processed wool, lumber, grain, hemp fiber, and iron. The foundry and machine shop was particularly important as it employed a quarter of the town, producing railroad cars, mortising machines and grain drills. A successful mercantile, commission and forwarding business utilized the railroad for the area's farmers and craftsmen, enabling them to exchange produce or products for dry goods or send them to more distant markets. These last two businesses were the foundation of the district's industrial and agricultural economy. While their associated buildings no longer exist, their success enabled Glen Rock to support other occupations, such as smithies, grocers, butchers, cobblers, teamsters, a doctor, a tailor, and various other craftsmen.
Soon after the town was incorporated on August 29,1859, the 1860 Census recorded 289 inhabitants, a ten fold increase from 1838. The 1860 map of the borough illustrates the first period of growth (1838-1861) in three clusters of buildings. The main grouping lines Church and Main Streets, including nearly all the borough's industry in the "meadows." The ell-shaped concentration of residences west of Church Street and north of Main Street contains many of the district's founders' and important merchants' and industrialists' homes. A smaller, entirely residential/agricultural grouping is located along Manchester Street to the southeast. Lastly, a few buildings are located on the north side of Water and Hanover Streets.
Residential buildings are the only contributing resources from this period. A Germanic/Georgian matrix of plan types dominates the earliest architecture of the district. This mixed category of Germanic and Georgian design requires some explanation since it is not commonly recognized. It includes several types of buildings, distinguished from each other largely by the location of entrances and fenestration, the number of bays, and the functions of rooms. Three bay sidehall and five bay central hall plans are clearly Georgian, but two or three bay Continental plans (a through kitchen house with two unequal size rooms on the other side of an internal chimney mass) are clearly Germanic. These Germanic/Georgian buildings have few style specific features, generally interpreting Georgian, Federal and Greek Revival styles in a vernacular mode.
Few pre-industrial buildings survive in the district. The circa 1840 Sheffer farmhouse on Manchester Street (tax parcel 1-24) is an unadorned vernacular Germanic building is typical of the several farms which occupied the valley before the district's rapid growth. The vernacular Georgian stone house of W. H. Heathcote (1828-1904) partially represents the industrial development of the town. Built circa 1850 by this second generation industrialist, the house reflects the modest character of early architecture in the district, suggesting that wealth was largely reinvested for industrial growth rather than displayed as a social statement. The two houses also reflect the predominantly German and English ethnicity of the district. The Sheffer house has two asymmetrical bays and an exposed basement in the rear. The Heathcote house has three equally spaced bays and no exposed basement despite a very steep slope. The two ethnic groups extensively intermarried, erasing easy distinction of cultural background within a few generations. The modest vernacular character of these two houses is representative of early architecture in the district. This period's architecture was produced by unknown local builders, working in the regional vernacular matrix. These builders used locally produced materials such as rough milled lumber, fieldstone or hand made brick.
After the Civil War, Glen Rock continued to grow despite disruption from the war and national economic doldrums following the Panic of 1873. Population increased by 131% from 1861 to 1886. This growth was matched by the expansion of established businesses, the founding of new companies, and the construction of more buildings and structures. The Pennsylvania Railroad, which had owned the Northern Central since 1860, expanded operations in 1871 with a second set of tracks and two new bridges and purchased the three story brick station in 1874. The bridge in the northwest corner of the district reflects the trend of railroads to replace and expand cheap and easily constructed infrastructure with more durable structures once operating revenues allowed. The second set of tracks also attests to the increasing importance of the Northern Central in a regional transportation system. By 1881 as many as eighty trains a day traveled through the town. The increase in rail capacity and the large volume of traffic on the line signaled expanded industrial and commercial opportunities for Glen Rock. Widespread use of coal and/or wood fired steam power after the war allowed new industries to locate throughout the "meadows," freed from dependence on water power.
The wool and grist mill businesses expanded during this period with production of felts used to make paper and conversion to roller mill technology, respectively. Rope production similarly increased with an additional factory in Centerville, just north of the district, and diversified into jute rope and twine manufacture. The Item, Glen Rock's boosterish newspaper begun in 1870, declared in 1882 that two Glen Rock industries "led the nation" in the production of their respective specialties, wool felts and jute twine. The foundry continued to grow, employing up to one hundred men. Known as the Glen Rock Manufacturing Company, it produced agricultural machinery, paper and flour mill equipment and occasionally railroad rolling stock. Late in 1886, however, serious shortages were found in the accounts of the First National Bank of Glen Rock. Four men were arrested, and the foundry was placed in receivership in the aftermath of the scandal. The closing of the foundry shattered business confidence in the town. The plant did not fully resume operations for six years.
New industries related to the processing of wood appeared between the Civil War and the 1886 foundry bankruptcy. These were construction and milled lumber and furniture production. Few of these industrial buildings remain and none retain integrity, however the owners' and workers' houses made possible by these industries illustrate their significance to the district. The most important of these opened in 1870 on the north end of the "meadows" using steam power. The Glen Manufacturing Company planed and milled all types of construction and finish materials. The firm extended across the Codorus in 1884 around the Heathcote stone house and utilized several rail sidings. Other businesses which opened in the district after the war included two hotels, with associated livery stables; livestock sales; the production of shoes, cigars, ice cream, butter and textiles.
Many of the architectural results of the district's second growth phase, 1861-1886, can be seen as early as the 1876 map. The industrial center of town between the Codorus and Main Street grew substantially in number of establishments and extended along Main Street to the intersection with Hanover/Baltimore Street. A commercial area partially ringed the industrial area from the west side of Water Street, along the north side of Main Street, to the intersection of Baltimore and Manchester Streets. The residential area around Church Street became more dense, and William Heathcote developed the first parallel, upslope street, appropriately named New Street. Residential development along Hanover Street grew dramatically, with modest growth on Manchester and Pleasant Streets, and by 1886 on Valley and Argyle Streets.
Stylistic influences on vernacular forms during this era included late Federal and Greek Revival, Italianate, but little Second Empire design. Vernacular Germanic/Georgian buildings prevalent in the first growth phase are found throughout the district especially along Hanover and New Streets. A brick vernacular Germanic example representative of many houses within the district is 153 Hanover Street. This residence reflects a conservative outlook among Glen Rock's middle class since national styles such as Italianate and Second Empire would normally be prevalent during this period. Two noteworthy residences exhibiting these national styles are 20 Church Street and 30-32 Hanover Street. Both are homes of successful industrialists, suggesting that only the wealthiest individuals followed the latest architectural styles during this period. While local builders were still producing mainly vernacular houses, these two industrialists' homes attest to the occasional use of national styles and plans promulgated by builder's guidebooks.
The 1886 foundry closure affected the economic health of the entire town, temporarily retarding further growth. The townspeople understood the importance of the foundry to the local economy, and with no recovery in sight the Glen Rock Improvement Association was organized in 1890. Sales of stock raised the funds to buy the foundry property and to advertise its availability nationally in industrial trade journals. By the end of 1892, the Norrish Foundry and Machine Company had leased the building and employed sixty men. The company specialized in the production of roller flour mill machinery, pulley's, and the Burnham water turbine (the latter was distributed nationally). The resumption of foundry production returned many to work and renewed the town's economic vitality. After bankruptcy in 1912 and another intervention by the Improvement Association, the Read Machinery Company used the plant for the manufacture of bakery equipment.
Optimism generated after the renewal of the foundry and more conservative financial practices encouraged by its original failure carried the town through the national economic depression following the Panic of 1893. Generally unaffected by this, the town's commerce expanded and diversified. Wood processing enterprises were foremost in this growth. The Glen employed as many as fifty men and had a branch yard in Stewartstown from 1885 to 1893. Joseph Dise (1849-1933), one of the principal owners, brought much business to the firm through his local reputation as an architect. Furniture and carriage manufacture were also important during this period. The Enterprise Furniture Company, the largest of several such business, moved into a six story brick facility on Water Street in 1904 (now non contributing). Wood processing industries were the largest employers in the district, accounting for continued growth and prosperity. However the automobile began to diminish the market for carriages early in this century, and these local businesses did not make the transition to automobile manufacture.
Clothing manufacture was another major industry in the district during this period. This enterprise began in 1889 with domestic piece work farmed out to women from a Baltimore clothing manufacturer. After occupying several quarters temporarily, the Industrial Sewing Company constructed the brick factory at 47 Baltimore Street in 1916. The company produced mainly men's underwear and employed as many as one hundred and forty women. The building reflects then current industrial construction technology in the nation and the district. Brick walls, chamfered post timbers, and beveled beam ends provided some fire protection. Large windows provided maximum lighting, and the low pitch composition roof and lack of ornamentation trimmed cost. It is significant because this industrial building employed mostly women testifying to the diversity of the industrial development and to the social character of the district. Given the social and economic status of women during the period and the high percentage of the female population this industry employed (>20%), the building signifies the existence of many families which needed two wage earners. This suggests that despite expanding industry and commerce many workers did not enjoy high wages.
The district's booming economy in the 1890s prompted several less successful endeavors. These included businesses specializing in wire cloth, machining and metal stamping manufacture and bicycle and other novelty goods production. The hardware and agricultural implements business was successful however. In 1901, Jacob F. and H. Oscar Neuhaus bought out a firm begun in 1891. Neuhaus'es has occupied the site on the southwest side of Main Street since 1901 in addition to a manufacturing and warehouse facility on Junior Street.
Buildings devoted solely to business reflect the increasing importance of commerce in the district's growth. In the first two periods commerce was usually combined with residential space, requiring less start up capital for the new business and reflecting the generally small scale of commerce. Once business confidence and the local market grew, competition spurred larger and less humble facilities. The 1912 Peoples Bank of Glen Rock is the most elaborate example. The bank's classically derived architecture, expensive materials and copious decoration implied financial stability. The architecture of the bank helped sell trust, all the more precious a commodity given the ruinous history of the bank's predecessor. Most commercial buildings in the district however used less elaborate current styles. While exhibiting more stylistic features than industrial buildings to attract business, commercial buildings of this period had straightforward design with simple, cheap decoration and large showcase windows to display merchandise. The 1913 Glen Theatre reflects these trends with its decorative use of brick faces to create simple geometrical patterns on its facade. The merchandise display function of large plate glass windows is here replaced by the marquee and formerly glass encased billboards.
At the close of this third period, 1886-1917, the district reached its economic zenith. Population increased 87% to around 1,250. As a commercial center, the district's businesses provided agricultural implements, supplies, animal stock, and processing of wool, cereal grains, lumber and other farm products. The Northern Central provided the shipment of goods to more distant markets and the transport of people. Between 1888 and 1903 freight and passenger receipts quadrupled. As an industrial center, the district's businesses transformed wool, wood, fiber, metallic ores, wire and agricultural goods into myriad products for regional and national distribution. Commercially, small businesses and trades fulfilled almost every conceivable need in the district. A 1921 York Dispatch article declared Glen Rock the third most important manufacturing center in the county, behind York and Hanover, shipping ten carloads of rail freight a week.
The third growth phase of the town included dramatic physical expansion. The district was a remarkably dense warren of industrial and commercial activity with closely packed houses clinging to steep hillsides and lining the roads rising out of the "meadows." On both Hanover and Manchester Streets over fifteen large houses were built, many for a growing middle class. Valley, Argyle and Junior Streets were developed during this period, with worker housing on the latter two and Baltimore Street. New developments included Cottage and Glen Avenues and Terrace and Hayward Heights. These new developments reflected a national trend toward homogeneity among socio-economic classes. Cottage Avenue and Hayward Heights were the most exclusive as they looked over and were visible from the "meadows." Glen Avenue and Terrace Heights were more middle class neighborhoods with large but modestly adorned Queen Anne tri-gable ell and Craftsman four square plans.
Vernacular Germanic/Georgian residential architecture is still common, especially in worker housing areas along Argyle Avenue and Valley, Junior and Baltimore Streets where three-quarters of the buildings are of this type. The majority of these semi-detached, multi-family dwellings are closely spaced. Representing many such resources, 14-16 Argyle Avenue is a circa 1890, two story, six bay frame building with an exposed stone and brick basement, an asbestos shingle roof, 6/6 windows and a full two story porch. With the addition of a cross gable and turned posts and balusters on the porch, the same plan becomes Victorian Gothic. This style was utilized with finer materials and in detached form by the middle class as at 74 Manchester Street and, most elaborately, at 143 Hanover Street. Moreover, this eclectic mixture of later styles grafted onto a large vernacular Germanic/Georgian plan building points to a long lasting conservatism among the district's builders.
Two known architect/builders working during this period, Joseph Dise and Jesse Shewell, illustrate the two types of construction occurring in the district. Shewell, who built at least twenty houses between 1884-1904, represents the older tradition. He worked in vernacular modes, constructing many workers' homes on Argyle Avenue and Valley and Junior Streets. This single builder of much of the district's worker housing partially accounts for the common vernacular design of these resources. Dise represents the newer tradition of national styles. Dise, bank president and partner in a multitude of business, also had some architectural training from the Maryland Institute. He designed a few homes for the wealthy and buildings for several community institutions. His business, the Glen Manufacturing Company, also provided construction services using mail order plans. This company, aided by Dise's reputation as an architect, built many homes and supplied the materials for nearly all construction in the district. Dise also acted as real estate developer, responsible for the Cottage and Glen Avenue neighborhoods.
Queen Anne style houses are prevalent in this period among the middle and upper classes, especially on Hanover Street and Cottage Avenue. The most impressive of these is the "Castle," designed by Joseph Dise for himself. Using architecture to make a social and commercial statement, the large residence looms over the district on a steep hill, proclaiming its physical separation from the town while remaining conspicuously visible. The house is an early and strident example of the trend toward the physical separation by socio-economic class which begins in this period. Further significance lies in the commercial use of the residence as an advertisement. Dise showcases his abilities as an architect in the complexity and new style of the house, as a manufacturer of building materials in the multitude of milling profiles and components used, and as a real estate developer in the attractive location and layout of the Cottage Avenue neighborhood.
The construction and replacement of several churches, civic institutions and services during this period reflect a healthy local economy and a growing awareness of civic improvement, encouraged by the Item and the City Beautiful Movement. In 1895 the Trinity Reformed congregation erected the brick and brownstone High Victorian Gothic church with a square corner tower at Manchester and Pleasant Streets. The Lutherans replaced their former church with a granite building at Water and Hanover Streets. Joseph Dise, a member of the congregation, designed the much grander church in Romanesque Revival style. The Glen Rock Hose and Ladder Company constructed their three story Romanesque Revival fire house further east on Hanover Street in 1904. Dise also designed this building and was instrumental in securing a public water system for the district in 1901.
Between the World Wars, 1917-1945, several factors combined to slow the district's growth dramatically. Stronger regional firms in Baltimore, York and Hanover, in an effort to increase efficiency and profits through consolidation with or elimination of rivals, bought and/or closed several Glen Rock businesses. The Northern Central, like other national railroads, experienced a long decline in profitability as passenger and then freight traffic was lost to cars and trucks. The Depression, two natural disasters (a 1921 fire and 1933 flood), and wartime rationing also dampened the district's growth.
The woolen mill closed in 1917 after the owner's death. The flour mill ownership was transferred to Baltimore milling magnate B. Frank Wings in 1918. The district's two hotels closed in 1919 and 1924 as railroad passenger business declined and automobile traffic bypassed Glen Rock. Rope manufacture ended in 1920 when the Hanover Cordage Company bought and dismantled the Centerville plant. Most detrimental was a late 1921 fire which destroyed both the Read Machinery complex and the previous Neuhaus building. Read Machinery decided not to rebuild, consolidating operations in a newly completed York plant. After declining between 1910 and 1920, population increased only 15% during the period.
Despite these blows, the general business climate of the 1920s provided opportunities for growth. The furniture industry continued to expand. The American Toy Desk Company built two utilitarian concrete block buildings at the end of Cottage Avenue in 1921. The company produced all types of furniture by 1935. The steep hill location of the complex reflects the decreasing importance of freight rail transportation as it is only accessible to automobiles. The Enterprise Furniture Company employed up to 125 workers although the Depression later reduced the number to below 50. It also utilized former facilities of the Glen Manufacturing Company which had moved north, outside the district.
Walter F. Dehuff, a manager of the previous machine shops, founded the Glen Mixer Company in 1921. The company manufactured baking machinery in an older two story concrete block building with pivoting industrial windows on Junior Street. During the Depression, Glen Mixer was sold to the American Machine and Foundry Company which had greater financial resources. In 1940 A. M. F. moved production to a recently constructed building on the old foundry site, now the Accufab building. American Toy Desk, Enterprise Furniture, Glen Mixer and Industrial Sewing all utilized electric power which allowed greater flexibility for production and eliminated less efficient, individual steam power sources. These facilities plus the Accufab building also reflect the continuing trend among industries toward cheap, efficient and fire proof construction with the use of brick or concrete block and simple building masses with minimal decoration.
Commercial buildings continue to exhibit economical construction and minimal decoration. The reconstructed Neuhaus's hardware and agricultural supply store from 1922 reflects these tendencies in the use of concrete block construction with a brick facade. It has a modest parapet, simple brick details, quadrupled sets of 6/6 windows, and showcase windows on the first floor. Geiple's Furniture store at 45-53 Main Street is a similar type resource from 1928. This three story, 20th century commercial style building had brick faced concrete block walls, 1/1 windows, and large, first floor display windows. Modern alterations include filling many windows with glass block and adding a shingled pent roof, but the resource maintains integrity. As the largest commercial store in the Glen Rock, Geiple's attests to the historical importance of the furniture industry in the district's economy.
Residential construction was little affected by the 1921 foundry closing until the Depression. Modestly decorated Craftsman and Colonial Revival styles were predominant with a few late Queen Anne style buildings influenced by the Colonial Revival. A few houses were more elaborate such as the Craftsman style Bungalow at 29 Hayward Heights. This building's finer details and landscaping identify it as the residence of a successful merchant, George W. Geiple. Bungalow, Four Square and Cottage type houses were largely the result of plans nationally promulgated by builders' journals and mail order catalogs. Made affordable by industrial production of building materials, partial pre-fabrication, and rising middle class incomes, single family suburban dwellings spread throughout the district's periphery. Growth occurred at the ends of principal routes such as Hanover, Manchester, and Church Streets. Glen, Cottage and newly laid out Park Avenues and Hayward Heights continued to develop high on the slopes of the surrounding hills. After a severe slowdown during the Depression and World War II, this trend resumed with the additional incentive of Federal Housing and Veterans Administration secured financing. Built at the end of the significance period, the identical group of eight Minimal Traditional houses along Hanover Street, represented by 252, reflects the same trends responsible for Levittown and national suburbanization.
The construction of several institutional resources indicates that the town's economy was adequately diversified to survive the blows in the early 1920s. A citizens group constructed the Glen Rock Community Building in 1926 on Baltimore Street. This space replaced inadequate facilities in the fire house for sports and other recreation. Next door, the Glen Rock Free Public Library opened in 1936. Lastly, the Immanuel United Methodist Congregation built its third church in 1927. This Neoclassical-styled building sits on Church Street at the corner with New Street and connects to the previous 1870 edifice.
The Glen Rock district can be compared with other regional towns, considering such factors as reasons for development, population growth, changes over time, and architectural character. Shrewsbury, an older town but incorporated about the same time as Glen Rock, grew primarily from commerce along the early 19th century York-Baltimore Turnpike which ran through town. This turnpike town on the crest of a hill stretched linearly along the main north-south road. During the railroad era, Shrewsbury's population and economic importance atrophied as Glen Rock expanded. When the Susquehanna Trail and, later, Interstate 83 returned Shrewsbury to the economic mainstream, the town resumed growth while Glen Rock faltered. This correlation between transportation access and economic viability underscores the importance of the railroad in Glen Rock's history. The architectural concentrations in Shrewsbury mirror this economic cycle of growth, decline and resurgence related to transportation and commercial links. Vernacular Germanic/Georgian and national styles such as Federal and Greek Revival are common from the 1810s-1850s. Picturesque styles like Gothic Revival, Italianate and Queen Anne are less common during the town's economic decline. Finally as Shrewsbury's economy revived, many examples of Craftsman and Colonial Revival homes were built from the 1910s forward.
New Freedom, which developed along the Northern Central Railway, was incorporated several decades later than Glen Rock. Located near the crest of the Northern Central line between Baltimore and York, New Freedom lacked water power, so its belated industrial development relied on steam and electric power. That New Freedom never experienced growth as rapid as Glen Rock despite rail access and available power sources testifies to the competitive advantage gained by an early application of available capital and industrial expertise. New Freedom lies on a gently sloping hill side, but its gridiron street pattern is unaffected by the topography. The town's architecture also corresponds to its periods and character of growth with the majority of buildings from later periods.
Red Lion has the greatest similarities to the Glen Rock district. Beginning as a small cross roads agricultural community, Red Lion grew explosively until the Depression as a tobacco processing center after the York and Peach Bottom Railroad was completed in 1872. The rapid expansion of this labor intensive industry resulted in large areas of workers' housing. Red Lion is densely built with local architectural vernaculars and late 19th and early 20th century national styles. The town lies among hilly terrain, somewhat modifying its gridiron layout. The main difference between the two towns lies in their development since the Depression. While Glen Rock's growth faltered due to its isolation from predominant transportation corridors after the railroad's decline, Red Lion sustained moderate growth as the junction of the two main roads (State Roads 24 and 74) linking York and the southeastern part of the county. Red Lion has since stretched along these roads well beyond its crossroads center, whereas Glen Rock has remained confined to the valley and surrounding hills.
The industrial, commercial and architectural character of the district's development remains relatively intact. Although several former industrial buildings have lost their integrity in conversions to commercial and residential uses, these buildings are still unmistakably former industrial buildings due to scale, straightforward style and feeling. The relationship of buildings to streetscape and hill and valley landscape has not changed, and although many buildings have modern material changes, the essential forms, locations, associations, have remained intact. The remaining contributing industrial and commercial buildings, the homes of their owners and workers, and the community institutions continue to reflect the district's significance. Overall, the integrity of the district has been maintained.
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Nearby Towns: Codorus Township • Jacobus Boro • Loganville Boro • New Freedom Boro • Railroad Boro • Seven Valleys Boro • Shrewsbury Boro •