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Monday, April 25, 2016

The "The Cool Town With A History: Part VI - Broad Street" Story

It was an ordinary day.  Parked the car a few spaces east of Broad on Main Street and began wandering around the town of Lititz, Pennsylvania with my camera and a list of locations that I had found while reading the book Images of America: Lititz by Kathy Blankenbiller.  The small book, which I had found amongst my mother's belongings when she died a few years ago, told just about everything you needed to know about the little town to the north of Lancaster which was voted a few years ago as "The Coolest Town in America."  There are essentially two main streets in Lititz; Main street, which runs east and west, and Broad Street, which runs north and south.  They meet in a "T" and at that  intersection is a small triangular island with a water feature in the midst of the island.  My story today will give you some of the main features along Broad Street while tomorrow I will tell you some facts about Main Street.  My first five stories have given some information about some of the structures along Broad and Main, but with a history that dates back to 1722, there are many more structures that deserve mentioning.  To make it more interesting and easier for me, I have decided to post photos of a few of the structures along Broad Street with a brief descriptions of each.  Remember to click on the photos to enlarge them.
The Reading and Columbia Railroad passenger and express station opened to the public in 1884 on land leased from the Lititz Moravian Church.  On October 28, 1952, Adlai Stevenson, Democratic Presidential candidate rode on the last passenger train to ever go through this depot.  In 1957 the station was demolished to make room for the Lititz Spings Park.  My photograph shows the replica that was built in 1999 which now serves as the Lititz Welcome Center.
Chocolate came to Lititz in 1913 when Henry Oscar Wilbur opened a chocolate factory next to the train station.  In 1992 the business was sold to Cargill, but kept the Wilbur name.  The company manufactured products that were shipped to confectioners, dairies, bakers and candy makers across the nation.  They also began making the famous "Wilbur Bud".  This past January, Wilbur closed the manufacturing plant located at 48 North Broad Street, eliminating 100 workers.  The small Wilbur Chocolate Candy Americana Museum and Candy Store in the front of the plant remains open .... for now. 
At 109 North Broad stands what at one time was Bob Eck's Garage which later was known as the Kaiser-Frazier Garage.  The building now is the Lititz American Legion, Garden Spot Post 56 which was the first Legion Post in Lancaster County.  It was organized in 1919 and chartered in 1920.
This is the Lititz Mutual Insurance Company at 2 North Broad Street.  Years and years ago a row of Victorian homes, known as Cottage Row, sat along Broad Street at this location.  In 1956 they were demolished to make way for a gas station.  Residents fought the gas station, fearing it would ruin the square in town.  They finally prevailed which resulted in this beautiful building.  
This is the Parkview Hotel which stands across he street from the Lititz Springs Park.  The first known owner was Hiram Holtzhouse and the building was thought to have been erected in 1901.  He also built the structure next to it as his home so his family wouldn't have to live above a bar.  The hotel part of the structure is closed at present, but the bar is a hub for the local bar scene with a trivia night every Wednesday.  The Parkview is one of Lititz's longest-operating businesses.  The Parkview is also one of the few bars in Lancaster County that can legally allow smoking because it doesn't serve food.  The Parkview does have two pool tables, three flat screen TVs, a jukebox and a pinball machine.  The original tin covered walls and ceiling with retro tiled floor and a bullet hole in the wall make it a real novelty in Lititz.
This is the building that Mr. Holtzhouse built in 1909 for his family.  Shortly afterward, he opened Holtzhouse's Confectionery.  By the mid-1930s, after Mr. Holtzhouse had died, the business was sold and became known as Glassmyer's Restaurant.  Today it houses the every so popular  Tomato Pie Cafe.
This is the original Lititz Borough Hall at 7 South Broad St. which shared housing with the Lititz Hose (Fire) Company which was on the first floor.  It was the second fire house in Lititz on this site, since the original building burned to the ground in 1873.  This building was built in 1912 and now serves as the Lititz municipal building which includes borough hall and the police department.


The Warwick House is the oldest hostelry in Lancaster County, having been established in 1809.  It  has changed ownership many times and in 1992 the new owner changed the name of the building to the Toy Soldier which now functions as a bar, restaurant and apartment building.
The John Badorf house at 120 North Broad Steet was built in 1907.  The Warwick House pictured above was owned and operated by Mr. Badorf when it was first built and he built this house right next to his establishment.  The house, which weighed 360 ton, had to be moved back 50 feet from the road in 1993 to accommodate an additional traffic lane. I was told that everything was left in the home and only one small dish was broken during the move.

Well, you now have an idea of the history of this small town to the north of Lancaster, Pennsylvania.  I'm sure you can see why the reader's of Budget Travel voted Lititz the "Coolest Small Town in America" a few years ago.  It was another extraordinary day in the life of an ordinary guy. 

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