Victorian Christmas 2008

2008 Victorian Christmas Mansion & Churches Tour

48 West Fourth Street  •    The Schauer Building  

This magnificent structure was built in 1878 as a commercial building with a huge Masonic lodge on the third floor. Matt Schauer, the current owner, purchased the building in 2005 and is in the process of transforming the spectacular top-floor space into a penthouse urban dweller’s dream for himself. Look for the polychromatic vaulted ceilings, the last surviving example of 1870’s painted interior decoration left in Williamsport. Also note the ornate brackets, medallions, and stained glass windows.  

454 Pine Street   •  Old City Hall

Built in 1893 by Eber Culver, Old City Hall is now on the Pennsylvania Inventory of Historic Places as well as the National Historic Register. Each unique suite is architecturally charming with some suites retaining their original fireproof vaults. The interior is poshly decorated with luxurious marble tile floors, elegant stairways with magnificent balustrades, and a romantic veranda above the main door. In 1894, these extravagant details inspired the Gazette & Bulletin to write, “There is no church in Williamsport that will compare in elegance.” In the early 1980s and less than 100 years later, the building was saved from the wrecking ball by Richard H. Lundy.

522 West Fourth Street   •   The Hiram Rhoads House

This notable example of Queen Anne style architecture was designed by Eber Culver in 1888 for Hiram Rhoads, the man who first brought the telephone to Williamsport. Among the many features are front doors with unusual stained glass design, hallway and staircase of hand-carved mahogany, five fireplaces, upstairs bathtub encased in mahogany, solid pecan floor in the living room, ornate gilded bronze hardware throughout, and the most magnificent chandeliers in Williamsport. The dining room has been newly redecorated, and the gourmet kitchen with its handsome tiles has been featured in Victorian Kitchens & Baths book and Victorian Homes Magazine.

634 West Fourth Street  •   The Smith/Ulman House

Historically known at the Smith/Ulman House and previously used as the rectory of Annunciation Church, this 1889 house with Italianate influence was built by Isaac Hobbs and is now the law firm of Raup, Wiley, and Mott. Look for the large brackets, heavy detail, and flared mansard roof. The Italianate features are the ornate mouldings, arched windows, and door hoods. This is the largest Second Empire in the Historic District. The interior is being beautifully restored to its original condition.

707 West Fourth Street  •  The Rowley House Museum

Probably the most magnificent remaining example of the craftsmanship which exemplified Millionaire’s Row, this 1888 home was designed by Eber Culver and built on land purchased by Peter Herdic. It is recognized as one of the most outstanding examples of Queen Anne architecture in the state and features extraordinary Tiffany quality stained glass windows which were featured in Victorian Homes Magazine. The cherry and oak woodwork is in excellent condition, and the electric light fixtures are extremely rare. It was opened to the public as a Victorian House Museum summer 2007.

855 Vallamont Drive   •   The Culler House

Built in the early 1900’s by C. Luther and Carolyn Gates Culler, this gracious and elegant brick and stucco home with outside front fountain exemplifies the Georgian style of architecture. In the style of “The Great Gatsby,” it features tall arched, floor-to-ceiling windows, fourteen rooms, five bathrooms, and maid’s and chauffeur’s quarters. The $100,000 construction cost was a sizable amount for the era. Culler owned and operated the Culler Furniture Company in Williamsport, located at the foot of Susquehanna Street on the site of what is now the Pennsylvania College of Technology. The company’s primary product was chairs, and a symbolic Culler Chair stood on the roof of the building. Babe Ruth reportedly hit a home run over this chair during an exhibition game. This spectacular house has recently undergone extensive and detailed restoration by the present owner.  

901 West Fourth Street  •  The Durrwachter House Women’s Museum

Late Victorian Queen Anne, this home (also known as the Johnson/Lamade House) was completely custom designed with colonial revival influence. The outside of this house is original and boasts many stylistic features, such as double roof dormers with wood shingles and fish scale trim, that were not found in the typical pattern book of the time. It was designed in 1890 by Amos Wagner and built for Henry Johnson, a state legislator from Muncy, who moved to the city to help his six daughters find suitable husbands among the wealthy men of Williamsport. The Johnsons were so pleased with Wagner’s work, they had him build a similar home next door on Maynard Street for one of their daughters. The house is now a women’s museum of the 1800s.

1023 West Fourth Street  •  The Westmark House

Built in 1885, this Eastlake-style brick has a gabled roof. The gables have clapboard and vertical board with an arched mullioned window on the second floor. The wrap-around porch has an arched entrance, turned posts, railing, and a mullioned sidelight by the door. This is one of the few homes on West Fourth Street that has never been converted into apartments but has always remained a single family home.

1322 Cherry Street  •  The Vanderlin House

Designed in compelling Arts and Crafts-style architecture, this home, features chestnut beams and woodwork, and stained glass. A mid-1900s chestnut blight destroyed most of the magnificent American chestnut trees, which makes this house and its woodwork so rare. Enjoy the 6-foot ceiling-to-floor doors in the 30-foot living room, which leads to the handsome 64-foot stone porch wrapping the front and sides of the house.

380 West Fourth Street  •  First Baptist Church 

This landmark church was originally designed and built by Eber Culver in 1854. It has been served by 21 pastors and six interim pastors in three different buildings all on the same corner of ground donated by Peter Herdic. Peter’s wife was a member of the congregation. After being destroyed by floods, the original building was torn down in 1889. The main sanctuary was completed in 1914. The church is an example of the Romanesque style of architecture, with mountain stone quarried from this area. The present church is known for its beautiful sanctuary with the eight stained glass windows depicting Baptist patriarchs. Designed in London and built in New York City, they were taken apart to be transported to Williamsport.

436 West Fourth Street   •  Christ Community Worship Center

Originally Church of the Covenant and more recently St. Paul’s Lutheran Church, this limestone structure has a center spire, bell tower, and steeply pitched roof with stone finials. The windows are pointed and arched. It has the largest expanse of Tiffany stained glass in Northcentral Pennsylvania. Note the arched entryway with decorative insets.

700 West Fourth Street  •  Annunciation Church

Built in 1886 by Amos Wagner on land donated by Peter Herdic, the church was built to service the Irish Catholic community. It is an example of the Romanesque style of architecture, and the sandstone came from the nearby Ralston Quarry. The church has a multi-gabled slate roof and walls with colored belt courses. There are 43 arched stained glass windows. The entryway and entry doors are semi-circular. The bell tower is open with a decorative cornice and patterned stone. The center tower was capped when three workers fell to their deaths during construction. The interior has marble altars and Tiffany windows. Note the use of marble and gold. The church seats 1000 people.

844 West Fourth Street  •  Trinity Episcopal Church

Built in 1875 by Culver and Thorn, the church was paid for by Peter Herdic, who donated not only the land but also the entire building to Trinity Parish for one dollar as long as the pews remain “forever free.” His father-in-law, Judge Maynard, presented the church with the first set of nine-bell Westminster chimes in America, the same as heard in the Big Ben Tower of London. An example of English Gothic architecture, the church is built with stone quarried from Bald Eagle Mountain at Muncy and brownstone from Hummelstown. Note the pointed arches and windows, steeply pitched colored slate roof, and 265-foot spire.