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Preservation students tour city’s historic ‘Herdic Row’

Classmates stand outside the Peter Herdic House Restaurant, among the impressive Victorian structures that form Williamsport's Millionaires' Row.
Classmates stand outside the Peter Herdic House Restaurant, among the impressive Victorian structures that form Williamsport’s Millionaires’ Row.
An architectural detail catches the camera's eye.
An architectural detail catches the camera’s eye.

Liz Miele and Hannah Ramsauer recently hosted Historic Preservation (BSD410) students on a site visit to the adjacent properties that comprise “Herdic Row” in Williamsport: the Peter Herdic House restaurant, Peter Herdic Inn and a third building that was recently purchased by the Miele family.

“It is always so valuable to get the students out of the classroom to reinforce topics discussed in class,” said Rob A. Wozniak, an associate professor of architectural technology (who also provided photos). “While on site, Ms. Ramsauer shared her love for the history, including some of what was done to restore the structures.”

The restaurant, at 407 W. Fourth St., is the original home of Herdic – at the forefront of making Williamsport “the lumber capital of the world” – and was constructed in 1854-55. Due to fire and a midcentury storefront addition, much work was done to restore the Italianate “suburban villa,” including the recreation of the cupola and the unique stair and balustrade that form the keyhole detail. The inn, next-door at 411 W. Fourth Street, offers multiple guest rooms with quality Craftsman-style detailing.

The latest acquisition, at 419 W. Fourth St., is under interior rehabilitation. It, too, had a midcentury storefront added to it; that was removed about two years ago and the original Italianate facade was restored.

The three-credit Historic Preservation course, offered within the four-year building science and sustainable design major, is a lecture-based offering that provides an introduction to concepts of preservation and adaptive reuse of buildings. “Emphasis is on materials, construction techniques, building systems, economics and various resources,” Wozniak noted, “so to emphasize the value and importance these buildings play in our communities, while understanding that the ‘greenest building is the one that already exists.’ Touring these and others throughout the semester offers students the ability to appreciate this.”

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