Building Description Watt and Shand Department Store - Bon-Ton Store, Lancaster Pennsylvania

The Watt and Shand Building was an expansive former department store complex located at the southeast corner of Penn Square, the historic center of the commercial district of Lancaster, Pennsylvania. As is presently stands, the complex includes six attached buildings that exhibit at least fifteen major periods of construction activity beginning in 1880 and extending though 1972. Two of the buildings do not contribute to the complex. The principal Beaux-Arts style facades of the irregularly-shaped complex extend along E. King and S. Queen Streets and are four stories tall. Buildings are typically constructed of brick, the principal facades being faced with limestone and two modem additions being constructed in concrete block.

The 1.3-acre property is generally bounded to the north by E. King Street, to the east by S. Christian Street, to the south by the projection of E. Mifflin Street, and to the west by S. Queen Street. The building extends to zero lot line at its north, east, and west sides and covers most of the city block, with the exception of three narrow commercial buildings along E. King Street west of S. Christian Street. Commercial and civic development surrounds the property. Three historic commercial and civic buildings are located opposite the Watt and Shand Building on Penn Square's northwest corner; the Griest Building (1924-1925), Lancaster's only skyscraper; the Heritage Center (circa 1795-1797), originally built as city hall; and Central Market (1889). Modern commercial buildings are located on the two remaining corners of the square.

For descriptive purposes, the complex can be divided into six distinct buildings, although each has been internally connected into a single complex over time. Building #1 has been counted as a single building, even though its evolution involves separately constructed buildings that through subsequent alterations have lost their individual identity and now have a unified appearance. Each of the remaining buildings was either constructed as part of the department store complex or was acquired and incorporated into it, yet each retains its own individual character and appearance. Building #2 was acquired by Watt and Shand in 1936 and served as retail and office space. Building #3 was constructed in 1908 as warehouse space and was later partially adapted for retail use. Building Watt and Shand in 1937 and remodeled for use as a loading area and warehouse space. Building Shand's restaurant. Building #6, also known as the Montgomery House, was a previously existing building that was acquired by Watt and Shand in 1960 and later converted into an employee lounge.

Building #1 is the principal Beaux-Arts style portion of the department store complex and traditionally housed the retail activities of the Watt and Shand Company. Constructed in ten phases between 1880 and 1950, the four-story building with a full basement and flat roof encompasses some 147,100 square feet. Constructed or brick, the principal facades are faced with buff-colored brick and have marble, terra-cotta, and pressed metal ornaments.

The building is sited to take advantage of its corner lot, with principal views toward it encompassing both the E. King Street and S. Queen Street facades. Building #1 is ell-shaped, with its ell projecting to the northeast, fronting on E. King Street. The principal entrance to the store is located at the rounded northwest corner of the ell.

The three-bay E. King Street facade of the ell is essentially symmetrical, with slightly projecting outer pavilions. A decorated modillioned metal cornice, with a decorative frieze below highlighted by egg and dart moldings, extends full width across the facade below a pressed metal balustrade. Centrally located within the balustrade is a signage panel reading "Watt and Shand" surmounted by a flagpole.

The third and fourth floors are separated by a cornice and frieze. Windows at the fourth-floor level are grouped one over one light sash, in sets of three in the two outer bays and in a set of four in the center bay, and are set within rounded arched openings. Three-quarter round columns with Corinthian capitals separate the grouped windows and support continuous arched heads that terminate at either end in columnless capitals ornamented by cherubs. Decorative medallions in high relief are set in the spaces between the grouped windows. At the second and third-floor levels, each bay of windows are enframed by a decorated frame that rises from a cornice atop the storefront to the cornice separating the third and fourth floors. Second and third-floor windows are separated by masonry spandrel panels. The outer spandrels are decorated by a high-relief masonry lion's head surrounded by a floral motif The central two windows at the central bay of the second floor are surrounded by pilasters that support a heavy relief broken pediment. Windows at the second and third floors are grouped as at the fourth floor and are set within rectangular openings with no hoods. Double hung one over one windows are typical. A masonry cornice supported by four rectangular pilasters frames the storefront level. A central entrance is highlighted by a decorative surround and has modern paired doors. The remainder of the storefront level has storefront windows an low bulkheads with transoms. Rounded canvas awnings at each storefront window are modern.

The northwest corner of the ell is rounded and is a major focal point of the building. The cornice found on the north facade curves around and continues along the west elevation of the ell. A rounded sign panel atop the corner is similar in design to the one atop the north facade, has the words "Watt and Shand" and is also surmounted by a flagpole. A Palladian window is located at the fourth floor level of the corner above the cornice separating the third and fourth floors which continues from the north elevation to the west. Single two over two windows at the second and third floor are set within a continuously decorated frame, similar to the windows on the north elevation. A marble cartouche sits above a cornice at the first-floor entrance that is supported by three-quarter round columns. The cartouche has a central medallion with the initials W and S in relief and is flanked by putti.

The three-bay west elevation of the ell is generally similar in design and detailing to the north facade. Windows are set within similar openings but are grouped as follows: in sets of three in the two northern bays and in a set of two in the southern bay. An elevated neon sign is visible on the roof at this elevation and spells out "Watt and Shand" in block letters. The north elevation of the main block of the building carries the same general design and details as in previous elevations. Its four-bay width has grouped windows similar to the previous sets that are grouped as follows: in sets of three at the three western bays and as single windows in the eastern bay. A sign panel and flagpole, similar to those at the north elevation of the ell, are centered above the center of the three eastern bays. A central entrance corresponds at the first floor level below.

The nine-bay east elevation of the main block is divided into two visually distinct sections: the northern six bays continue the general design and detailing of the previous elevations and the three southern bays are similar yet lack a cornice. Windows are grouped as before with those in the two northern and two southern bays in sets of three and the five interior bays in sets of two. An entrance is located at the first-floor level of the southernmost bay. The street grade drops gradually along the elevation from north to south and results. The result is that storefront windows become proportionately higher as the grade declines.

The south elevation is obscured at its lower levels by Buildings #4, #5, and #6. The exposed elevation is common brick with a series of double and single window openings visible in the four eastern bays of its second through fourth levels and four western bays of the fourth level. A large rectangular penthouse rises at the southeast corner of the building. Likewise, the east elevation is obscured at its lower levels by buildings #2 and #3. The exposed elevation is common brick with single windows in segmental-arched openings were visible at the second level and single and double windows in rectangular openings at the fourth level. An elevator penthouse projects from the roof approximately one-third of the way between the south end and the north end.

The interior of Building #1 reflects its traditional use as a department store as well as the evolutionary nature of the building. Each floor is essentially open in plan, broken by rows of structural columns, and with supporting office, fitting, and storages spaces along the outer walls and opening into adjacent Buildings #2 through #5. An escalator system toward the center of the building provides vertical access from the basement to the fourth floor, as do stair towers along the east and west walls. Finishes throughout most of the retail spaces are modern, with the exception of limited areas where exposed column capitals and plaster or pressed metal ceilings are present. Original window and door surrounds and other decorative treatments have typically been retained with office spaces and the basement retains much of its pressed metal ceiling exposed.

Building #2 (circa 1875; remodeled circa 1936) is a three-story brick building located at 12 E. King Street, adjacent to the northeast corner of Building #1, that was acquired by Watt and Shand in 1936. Sited between Buildings #1 and #3 and an adjacent building at 14 E. King Street, only the principal north facade and a portion of the rear of the east elevation are exposed to view. The building has a flat roof concealed by a low parapet.

The principal north facade is four bays wide. Its two upper floors are set within a shallow enframement, with a thin belt course forming a continuous sill below the third-floor windows. 2/2 light double-hung sash windows are set within segmental-arched openings in each bay of the third floor, with taller 2/2 light double-hung sash set within rectangular openings in corresponding bays at the second level. The storefront is faced with stone and has a large slightly recessed rectangular sign panel with applied letters reading "Appel & Weber." Storefront windows flank a central entrance and are set above a high stone bulkhead. The rectangular windows have a horizontal orientation and are relatively low in height, having been constructed as display windows for jewelry. Metal awnings are located above each window. The entrance is recessed within the central bay and has paired modem aluminum doors with a continuous single light transom.

The first floor of the interior has a single large retail space partitioned at its north end for window displays. The second floor is open retail space and the third floor was used as offices.

The exterior and interior of 12 E. King Street were remodeled in 1960 by the removal of vestiges of a Victorian era cornice and the installation of modern interior finishes.

Building #3 (1908) is an irregular-shaped three-story painted brick warehouse building with a flat built-up roof. Its principal S. Christian Street facade is ten bays wide and has a continuous corbeled brick cornice. The four northern bays are recessed slightly from the remainder of the facade and retain tall rectangular four over four double-hung sash windows set within segmental-arched openings at their second and third floors. A modern fourth level was added over this section of the building after 1960 and has two rectangular metal windows. Windows on the third floor of the six southern bays are similar to the others but are shorter in height. The remaining openings were altered at different times during the past three decades. Windows at the second level have typically been fully or partly infilled with brick. The ground floor level at the four northern bays is a high stone foundation with a cargo door centered beneath its upper floor level. The northern entrance retains a paired wooden cargo door and the southern opening has been infilled with brick. The first floor at the six southern bays has a partially infilled cargo entrance to the north and a modem cargo entrance with a roll-up door to the south. A single pedestrian entrance and a single window are set between the outer doors.

The north elevation of the building faces an alley and is constructed of unpainted brick. The south elevation is obscured at its lower levels by Building #4. The west wall abuts Building #1.

The interior of the first level is typically open warehouse space with exposed ceiling and wall finishes. The upper levels are similar, except that retail space was later created in the 1950s and 1960s in some areas.

Building #4 (circa 1915; remodeled 1937) is a rectangular two-story brick warehouse building with a flat built-up roof The building appears to have been constructed circa 1915 and was acquired by Watt and Shand in 1937 and converted for use as a cargo receiving facility. Its five-bay painted brick facade faces onto S. Christian Street and has a narrow cornice. Windows at the upper level are irregularly spaced and have two over two double-hung sash set within rectangular openings. The first-floor windows have been concealed with plywood. The south elevation of Building one-story rear brick addition (pre-1950); and, 3) a modern concrete block second-floor addition to the rear (circa 1970). A recent concrete loading dock is located at the southwest corner of the building and has a metal canopy. The west elevation faces onto a narrow alley separating the building from Building #5. The north elevation abuts Building #3.

The interior of Building #4 is essentially an open storage space. A wall bisects the first floor corresponding to the point of the later addition. The earlier portion retains some vestiges of earlier plaster ceiling and wall finishes and wooden window trim. The remaining areas are exposed structural elements.

Building #5 is a rectangular concrete block building constructed circa 1970. The building has a flat built-up roof concealed by low parapets and shares a party wall with Building #1 to the north. Building #6 abuts Building #5 to the west. The exposed south and east elevations have no openings. Two stories in height with a full basement, the building included a restaurant at its basement level, with additional retail space and ancillary facilities for the Watt and Shand complex above.

Building #6, also known as the William Montgomery House, 19-21 S. Queen Street, was constructed as a residence in 1803-1804. The property was acquired by Watt and Shand in 1967 for future expansion and was utilized as a temporary recreation area for employees.

Watt and Shand Department Store - Bon-Ton Store, Lancaster Pennsylvania