Stevens and Smith Historic Site

Stevens and Smith Historic Site The Stevens and Smith Center was designed by Community Heritage Partners to reveal the hidden history of Lancaster's urban development, and explain the roles of Stevens, Smith, and Lancaster in the future of civil rights in America and the modern world.

Some 150 years ago, Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Hamilton Smith helped put Lancaster, Pennsylvania on the map. They’re about to do it again. What if you could travel back to the Lancaster of antebellum and Civil War days? What if you could hear U.S. Congressman and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens deliver his famous speech on the Courthouse steps outlining his plan for Reconstruction of the South? Visit a secret “station” on the Underground Railroad that was very likely conducted by Lydia Hamilton Smith? Experience first hand an era that marked a turning point in America’s history? We believe bringing their story to light will help fuel Lancaster’s renaissance, offer extraordinary resources to the city’s residents, and draw visitors from around the country and the world to learn about the role Stevens played in laying the foundation for the modern Civil Rights Movement, free public education, and freedom and equality for all Americans.

The core focal point of the future Stevens-Smith Interpretive Center, these masonry cisterns were discovered during our ...
12/09/2018

The core focal point of the future Stevens-Smith Interpretive Center, these masonry cisterns were discovered during our work stabilizing the Thaddeus Stevens house and law office, as the Lancaster Convention Ctr was being built. Originally below ground and between the rear wings of two buildings then owned by Stevens, they are now enclosed within the convention ctr structure which spans above. They can be viewed from Vine St through glass panels along the street, and from inside the convention ctr. Archaeologists determined that the vault- shaped cistern was altered internally and made accessible from the adjoining brewery basement (other side of the remnant stone wall behind). It was then probably used as an emergency hideout for fugitive slaves during moments when bounty-hunter slave catchers or federal marshals may have been searching the town. Since then, the Natl Network to Freedom has listed this site on their validated inventory of UGRR sites.

PA Historical Association conference attendees had a tour of Lancaster's mostly unseen but now partially excavated histo...
11/23/2018

PA Historical Association conference attendees had a tour of Lancaster's mostly unseen but now partially excavated history at the Stevens-Smith Historic Site, beneath the Lancaster Convention Ctr., guided by local historian and preservation consultant, Randy Harris, Prof. James Delle, project archaeologist, and Gene Aleci, project architect, preservation and urban development consultant. Although the building exterior restoration work was largely completed in 2009, the interior and underground spaces not visible from the street level remain waiting for further development of the museum and interpretative center, which has been pledged for the future by LancasterHistory.org and the Convention Center Authority.

With each first Saturday this summer, we've had increasing attendance and interest in the story of Stevens and Smith and...
09/13/2016

With each first Saturday this summer, we've had increasing attendance and interest in the story of Stevens and Smith and Lancaster's UGRR history at this National UGRR Network to Freedom-listed site in downtown Lancaster. Join us !

Stevens and Smith Historic Site architect, preservation and urban development consultant, Gene Aleci, explains, as part ...
07/19/2016

Stevens and Smith Historic Site architect, preservation and urban development consultant, Gene Aleci, explains, as part of Lancaster's new African American Heritage Tours, the investigations and transformation of the buildings from their 1990s appearances to the restored appearances today.

In Virginia, an example of the type of sustained educational preservation and design vision, needed for Lancaster to rea...
12/17/2014
Eighteenth-Century House Ruin to Be Restored…With Glass

In Virginia, an example of the type of sustained educational preservation and design vision, needed for Lancaster to realize the full potential of the Stevens-Smith Historic Site.

The Menokin Foundation in Warsaw, Virginia, is seeking to preserve the 18th-century home of Francis Lightfoot Lee with structural glass.

02/13/2014
Thaddeus Stevens: America's Forgotten Hero

See what Spike Lee and others have to say in a new video about the importance of Thaddeus Stevens and Lydia Smith and Stevens' house and law office in Lancaster !

Video about Thaddeus Stevens and his importance to Lancaster, PA

With a little more vision and a lot more commitment, our Stevens and Smith Historic Site and Learning Center could be he...
08/18/2013
Nonprofit works to preserve former slave dwellings

With a little more vision and a lot more commitment, our Stevens and Smith Historic Site and Learning Center could be heading in this direction !

The Slave Dwelling Project, a new nonprofit, is working with the National Trust for Historic Preservation and private property owners to preserve slave cabins across the South.

Stevens and Smith Historic Site's cover photo
01/30/2013

Stevens and Smith Historic Site's cover photo

11/30/2012

Thanks for the "likes." This could be one of Lancaster's MOST nationally-significant historic sites, comparable to Buchanan's Wheatland, but likely much more popular. The community needs to further invest in this to make it happen. Meanwhile, promoting it to others will help. So, thanks for all the interest you can muster.

In some very material ways, he never left !  Take a look at his house and law office on S Queen St.  Still waiting to be...
11/14/2012
He's back! County hero Thaddeus Stevens gets a fresh look - News - LancasterOnline.com

In some very material ways, he never left ! Take a look at his house and law office on S Queen St. Still waiting to be finished to tell his story and ours in the place where he lived and struggled for freedom and a more perfect Union.

You can explore the life and accomplishments of the local crusader for abolition of slavery and civil rights for all in a special section to appear with the Intelligencer Journal/Lancaster New Era on Thursday.

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE -- has distinguished Lancaster as the nation's largest National Register Historic District !  That...
08/05/2012

HISTORIC ARCHITECTURE -- has distinguished Lancaster as the nation's largest National Register Historic District ! That's right -- larger than Boston, San Francisco, NYC, etc., with more than 14,000 contributing structures. This is because we have so much contiguous, relatively intact historic architectural fabric. Worth protecting and working carefully with our most distinguishing competitive advantage, and prime asset.

Just a sneak-peek at our 3-D modeling of existing conditions along West King Street. More to come....!

Stevens and Smith Historic Site's cover photo
03/12/2012

Stevens and Smith Historic Site's cover photo

Exterior reconstruction of the remnant buidings was largely accomplished by mid-2009.
09/05/2011
Stevens home gets 1860s look - News - LancasterOnline.com

Exterior reconstruction of the remnant buidings was largely accomplished by mid-2009.

The brass plaque on the outside wall of 47 S. Queen St. had been there for 78 years, telling whoever bothered to read it that the building was the home of Thaddeus Stevens.

A record of urban design, preservation, and  architectural changes.
09/03/2011

A record of urban design, preservation, and architectural changes.

Address

South Queen And East Vine Streets
Lancaster, PA
17603

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