Old Houses and Historic Preservation
At Ville Painters Inc., one of our passions is historic preservation. Historic preservation allows us to share stories from the past with the current generations and maintain them for the future.
Lancaster County, especially Lancaster City, is well-renowned for the number of historic homes, some even older than the United States itself!
What is the National Register of Historic Places?
The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is a list of over 1,500,000 classified edifices, locations, structures, and objects protected under federal law for preservation purposes. It is created to help property owners and interest groups protect historic sites. The National Park Service administers the NRHP because the agency is designated to preserve the ecological and historical integrity of locations under its protection.
Being listed in the NRHP is mostly a symbolic act (unlike a National Park, it does not guarantee any protection for the location), but the federal government provides some financial incentives to owners of listed properties such as qualifications for tax incentives (e.g., tax deductions or returns of expenses incurred in preserving the property).
If a house is determined to be historic by the National Park Service, it will be added to the NRHP list. States and municipalities also have the power to delegate a historic home or district.
What makes a Historic House?
A house that is old does not automatically qualify it as a “historic” dwelling. It must be at least 50 years old (although there are exemptions) and it must meet one of the criteria put forth by the National Register of Historic Places—specifically, building that:
- “are associated with events that have made a significant contribution to the broad patterns of our history; or”
- “are associated with the lives of persons significant in our past; or”
- “embody the distinctive characteristics of a type, period, or method of construction, or that represent the work of a master, or that possess high artistic values, or that represent a significant and distinguishable entity whose components may lack individual distinction; or”
- “have yielded, or may be likely to yield, information important in prehistory or history.”
Historic Homes in Lancaster
Lancaster was founded in 1730, making it one of the oldest inland towns in the United States. Several edifices and districts within Lancaster have been recognized and listed as historic by the city, the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, and the National Park Service.
The Abraham Herr House was built in 1720, making it the oldest historic house recognized on the list curated by Lancaster Township. Most historic houses in Lancaster can be found along Marietta Avenue, including Wheatland. Built in 1828 as the home of James Buchanan (the 15th President of the United States), Wheatland is the most famous historic house in Lancaster, although it has been converted into a museum and no one has lived there since its conversion.
Older Houses in Lancaster
Even though most older houses in Lancaster are not recognized as official historic homes, they deserve as much tender, loving care as historically significant houses. Whether your house is listed on the National Register of Historic Places or not, we treat it with equally great reverence for all the history it holds.
How We Do Historic Preservation
Older edifices have unique features that cannot be found or recreated anywhere. Therefore, a historic preservation job requires specialized skill, more time, and more attention to detail than a standard repainting job. We must be careful not to leave behind markings or missing parts that would damage the “soul” of a historic edifice.
We offer exceptional craftsmanship, extreme care, and attention to detail in repairing peeling paint, repainting intricate trim, caulking gaps in doors and windows, and glazing windows.
Our Experience with Historic Preservation
We have worked on several notable historic and older edifices within and outside Lancaster County. Our portfolio includes:
- The Fulton Theater
- The Sellman House in Maryland (part of the Smithsonian Institute)
- YWCA Lancaster
- The Wolfe Museum
- Several Victorian houses in Mt. Gretna
Ville Painters Inc. provides an exceptional customer experience and great respect for history along with unrivaled craftsmanship and attention to detail. Call us now at (717) 396-1176 for a quote!