Lancaster County PA Realty Check: Thaddeus Stevens - Lydia Hamilton Smith Historic Site, Lancaster PA

Thaddeus Stevens - Lydia Hamilton Smith Historic Site, Lancaster PA

Thaddeus Stevens - Lydia Hamilton Smith Historic Site, Lancaster PAAs the construction of the Lancaster PA Convention Center and Marriott Hotel reaches new heights, several historic buildings around it are being spared.  A $20 Million project is planned to preserve and restore the law offices of Thaddeus Stevens, and the next door home of his housekeeper and business manager, Lydia Hamilton Smith.

Thaddeus Stevens was born in 1792 and died in 1868.  He was a lifelong crusader against slavery, and is considered the driving force behind the 13th Amendment which abolished slavery, and the 14th and 15th Amendments, which granted equal rights, and the right (for all men) to vote.

Thaddeus Stevens - Lydia Hamilton Smith Historic Site, Lancaster PA

Lydia Hamilton Smith, an African-American widow, became Stevens' housekeeper in 1847.  She accompanied him to Washington D.C. and managed his business affairs.  She eventually owned and managed her own properties in Washington D.C., Philadelphia and Lancaster, a remarkable achievement at that time in history.

The adjacent buildings will be restored to their original appearances, and set up as an interactive educational and historic site.  Additionally, archaeological excavations behind the homes have uncovered hundreds of historic relics going back to the 1700s. 

Importantly, evidence has been uncovered that strongly suggests that the buildings were part of the Underground Railroad through which slaves escaped to the North.  A large underground cistern has been excavated which would have been large enough to hide the refugees on their journey to freedom.

Thaddeus Stevens - Lydia Hamilton Smith Historic Site, Lancaster PA

The Thaddeus Stevens College of Technology , Lancaster, PA was created with a bequest from Stevens' will.  When Thaddeus Stevens died, he was only the second dignitary ever to lie in state in the Capitol Rotunda - the first being Abraham Lincoln himself. 

 

 

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Comment balloon 4 commentsBrian Schulman • July 02 2008 04:15PM

Comments

Fascinating history lesson, Brian!
I'm very pleased to see they are preserving and restoring these buildings and will be using them as an educational, historic site. When this is done, it adds immensely to the culture, pride and attraction of a community and enriches the lives of all of those who visit.

Jo

Posted by Jo-Anne Smith about 10 years ago

Jo, I was extremely pleased to see that these buildings were not going to be torn down as part of the new construction.  There's some really exciting archaeology going on, and I'm looking forward to the restoration.

Brian

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

Brian,

Once again the historical value of this area is just amazing.  People who have never visited these area's and taken the time to learn the significance of it are just missing HUGE.

Posted by Daniel J. Brudnok, REALTOR, SRES, e-PRO,ABR,GREEN,CSP (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Fox & Roach, REALTORS - Exton - PA License #RS-225179-L / Delaware License #RS-0025038) about 10 years ago

Dan, south central PA is indeed a great place to live and visit if you're interested in American history, architecture, and beautiful countryside!

Posted by Brian Schulman, Lancaster County PA RealEstate Expert 717-951-5552 (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage, Lancaster PA) about 10 years ago

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