Lancaster is a city rich in history. Its buildings are a wonderfully diverse reflection of over 270 years of settlement, growth and change. Lancaster’s architecture is recognized nationally for its high quality and for the unique character it lends to the community.

In the mid-twentieth century, local citizens began to actively encourage preservation of the City’s historic buildings and neighborhoods, and urged local elected leaders to implement plans and ordinances to protect this unique heritage. Lancaster City Council created Lancaster’s first local historic district in 1967.

Historic districts reflect citizens’ pride in the character of their neighborhoods, and a desire to protect Lancaster’s unique assets. Historic districts are important planning tools for the City, a means to improve the quality of life, and a way to ensure that new development enhances the existing character and scale of Lancaster’s historic streets and neighborhoods. Historic district ordinances establish a review process for changes to properties within that district, while recognizing that change is an important element in the City’s evolution and economic growth. Because the review process in the historic districts allows for public participation, private citizens have an opportunity to comment on new development and alterations taking place within their neighborhoods.

To protect its historic buildings and community character, the City of Lancaster has ordinances in place that provide for careful review of proposed alterations, demolition and new construction. Lancaster has seen a number of successful “adaptive reuse” projects involving the rehabilitation of existing structures for new uses, as well as the new construction of modern buildings that are products of their own time while harmonizing with their historic neighbors. These new buildings reflect a fourth century of Lancaster’s long architectural history.

Click here to view a map of the Local Historic District and Heritage Conservation District.