LANCASTER, PA—On November 11, 2014, the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County recognized Amtrak and its project partners with a C. Emlen Urban Preservation Award for excellence in historic preservation for their effort to rehabilitate the Lancaster station. Opened by the Pennsylvania Railroad in 1929, the building is listed as a contributing resource in the Lancaster City National Register Historic District.
In addition to Amtrak, which owns the facility, the award recipients include:
- Lancaster County Commissioners
- Lancaster County Planning Commission
- Lancaster County Transportation Authority
- ARRO Consulting, Inc.
- Caldwell, Heckles & Egan, Inc. (contractor)
- Cooper Carry, Inc. (architect)
- Hammel Associates Architects, LLC (associate architect)
- DeSimone Consulting Engineers (structural engineering)
- Dewberry-Goodkind (MEP/environmental engineer) and
- Rettew Associates, Inc. (civil engineer/landscape architect)
The red brick classical revival station features a center block flanked by recessed wings. The center block includes the main entrance at ground level, which is covered by a glass and metal marquee to protect passengers from inclement weather. On the second level, concrete columns frame three tall, rounded windows, while the parapet above showcases a clock.
Inside, the main waiting room features high ceilings, hanging Art Deco light fixtures, wooden benches and a skylight that allows natural light to flood the interior. From the adjoining concourse, staircases lead passengers down to the platform level.
Efforts to renovate and redevelop the station were ongoing for more than a decade and stemmed from the 1998 Lancaster Regional Transportation Station Master Plan, which called for interior and exterior repairs and enhancements. Five years later, Lancaster County hired design firm Cooper-Cary to draft a plan that included the creation of additional parking, a separate waiting area for bus passengers, commercial spaces and new Amtrak offices, as well as upgrades to the station’s heating system, installation of an air conditioning system and the realignment of the station’s driveway. Since the building is a contributing structure in a National Register historic district, the Pennsylvania State Historic Preservation Office also commented on the plans.
As the initial project neared completion in 2013, Amtrak, the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT), the Lancaster County Planning Commission and the Lancaster County Transportation Authority launched the “Capstone” project to address rehabilitation of the passenger areas and improvements to the exterior stairways and platforms.
In the waiting room and concourse, the marble wainscot, terrazzo floors and vintage light fixtures were cleaned, while plaster surfaces were repaired and painted in accordance with the station’s historic color scheme. Wood benches were refurbished to restore their original luster. Lancaster-based Brent L. Miller Jewelers generously donated six new vintage-style clocks for installation on the platforms, pedestrian concourse and at the station entrance.
Federal grants supported many of the station improvements, which all together cost approximately $17.7 million. Lancaster County, Amtrak and PennDOT also contributed significant funding towards the multi-year project.
The non-profit Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County strives to encourage and facilitate historic preservation countywide. The trust has been directly involved in preserving important Lancaster County landmarks and has provided advice, assistance and guidance in the protection of others.
See the Amtrak Lancaster Station Renovation Project Fact Sheet for further details about the rehabilitation work.