C. Emlen Urban : Part 8

Architect C. Emlen Urban develops a sweet partnership with candy entrepreneur Milton S. Hershey

C. Emlen Urban understood the power of relationships as well as anyone in the business. Shortly after launching his career in 1886, he joined the most prominent social clubs in Lancaster including the prestigious Hamilton Club. This club in particular provided Urban with an opportunity to meet other successful business persons in the community including James Shand, Peter Watt, A. B. Rote and, perhaps most fortuitously, Milton S. Hershey!   Hershey (age 32) and Urban (age 27), two young and emerging entrepreneurs, teamed up in 1890 to design alterations to Hershey’s personal residence with his wife Catherine Hershey.

This residential venture was the beginning of a long and illustrious career between two friends spanning more than 40 years. Similar to Urban’s experience with Peter Watt and the Watt & Shand department store, the relationship began by designing a residential project followed quickly by numerous commercial ventures.  Residential commissions are always the most challenging, risky and exhausting because of the intense personal nature of the design decisions. Urban’s success with the three-story Shingle Style mansion and carriage house for the Hersheys resulted in several major commissions that would take him well beyond Lancaster City.

Full LNP on-line article:  C. Emlen Urban’s Sweet Partnership with Milton S. Hershey 

LeadingAge 2017 Conference

Big Ideas in the Big Easy

We hope to see many of our clients and business associates at this year’s event in New Orleans!  Please stop by our Booth #1110 or the RLPS Interiors Booth #1121.  For our theme this year, “Big Ideas in the Big Easy,” we’ll be highlighting several projects recently selected for the Design for Aging Review and some 3D printed site models, as well as providing “hands-on” demonstrations of our 3D scanner used for digital surveying and virtual reality walkthroughs using an Oculus Rift.

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Rooster Woodshop Receives AIA Central PA Design Awards

The new 8,700 square foot woodshop at the Masonic Village in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania has come a long way from the renovated chicken coop which was its original home.  The jury for the AIA Central Pennsylvania Excellence in Design Awards selected The Rooster Woodshop for an Award of Merit.  The AIA membership echoed the jury’s opinion by also selecting the project for the Member’s Choice Award, determined through on-line voting.

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Head back to the classroom to ‘tour’ some of architect’s greatest schools

It’s September and even C. Emlen Urban had to go back to school!  However, as a young architect it was for a new objective—to design them!  Urban’s illustrious career included many building types: residences, civic buildings, churches, industrial, mercantile, offices and even schools.  In all, he designed 13 public schools, from his first in 1895 at the age of 32 to his last in East Lampeter Township on Old Philadelphia Pike toward the end of his career.  His more notable school designs included Stevens High School, 1906; Milton Hershey Consolidated School, 1914; Fulton Boy’s School, 1916; Reynold’s Middle School, 1927; and Lancaster Catholic High School, 1929.

Fulton Boy’s School – Neo-classical style

Urban’s school designs were as varied as the architectural styles that he chose for each of them.  Each school represented a popular style of the time beginning with Italian Renaissance for the 1895 Strawberry Street Elementary School, to Gothic Revival for The Reynold’s Middle School, and Beaux Arts/French Renaissance for his most controversial design, the Stevens High School.  All 13 buildings are still in existence; some are being used for their original function while others have been repurposed for a new use.  Either way, their longevity reflects the integrity of the materials he specified, the quality of the design and the buildings’ ability to adapt to the changing times.

The full LNP News article and photos are available at Lancaster On-line.




New Vision for Lancaster Chamber = New Home for Community Prosperity + Business Success

The design vison for the new headquarters for the Lancaster Chamber began with an office-wide design competition, with more than 12 teams participating. A variety of approaches to reinventing the existing 30,000 square foot office building were presented to user groups, and the preliminary concept developed by David McNally, Designer and Liz Koch, Interior Designer resonated with Chamber representatives. However that was just the beginning of a collaborative process working closely with Warfel Construction Company, Lancaster Chamber representatives and many other local companies to create a contemporary, multi-functional community hub for learning, connecting and collaborating. 

The existing façade of 115 East King Street was designed at a time when modern lines and new architectural rhythms rejected the context and cadence of the surrounding buildings in favor of new ideas. The new home for the Lancaster Chamber captures the rich architectural context of King Street by breaking down the former 60 foot façade to create a more graceful 45 foot wide main elevation stepping out toward King Street. 

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LeadingAge PA June 21-23, 2017

Thanks to all who stopped by our booths or attended one of our education sessions.  As always it was a busy, informative and enjoyable conference. You can still download the handouts for “Live LIfe Vibrantly” or “What to Build” by clicking on the title below. Please use the Contact Us form to request the handout for “SMARTHome Technology.”

24-C Live Life Vibrantly: How to Creat a Culture of Hospitality

Thursday, June 22nd, 12:30 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

How Innovative SMARThome Technology and Design Helps Seniors Maintain Independence and Aging in Place

Thursday, June 22nd, 2:30 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.

What to Build? The Anatomy of a Future-Oriented Expansion

Friday, June 23rd, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.


The year is 1896.  C. Emlen Urban is 33 years old and celebrating his tenth year of private practice.  His architectural commissions to date have been as varied as his business acquaintances. Architectural styles embodied in his work have included Queen Anne, Shingle, East Lake, Chateauesque and Romanesque Revival.  Noteworthy business acquaintances have included chocolatier Milton S. Hershey, hotelier Charles Wagner, tobacconist Menno M. Fry and, now, mercantilist Peter T. Watt partner of James Shand.

Within one year of completing twin Chateauesque mansions on West Chestnut Street in 1895,  Urban was commissioned to design an even more impressive baronial Chateauesque mansion at the corner of President and Marietta Avenues for the Watt family. The full LNP Artical can be found at Lancaster On-line: Urban’s 1896 Work Builds Some of Lancaster’s Still-Treasured Landmarks.

LeadingAge VA 2017 Confernence & Expo

Please stop by Booth #508 or attend one of our sessions if you’re going to be at the LeadingAge Virginia (formerly VANHA) conferenc this year!

Employing an Advisory Team Approach in Strategic Planning

Eric Endres wtih Beverly Asper, Debra Bowers & Mike Frey from Baker Tilly

Wednesday, June 7 / 4:15 – 5:15 p.m.

Beauty from the Beast:  Breathing New Life into Old Building Stock

Craig Kimmel with Rodney Alderfer from Bridgewater Retirement Community and John Dwyer from Covenant Woods

Thursday, June 8 / 10:45 a.m. – 12:15 p.m.

Bridging the Chasm: Creating Moderately Priced Communities for Seniors

Craig Kmmel wtih Aaron Rulnik from H.J. Sims 

Friday, June 9 / 11:00 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.


RLPS Welcomes Interns – Summer 2017

This summer, we are excited to have six interns, representing five different universities, in three different departments.  

Alex Kiehl (furthest to left)

Major: Architectural Design and Historic Preservation
Temple University

  Alex has always been interested in both math and the arts, which led to her interest in architecture. Once she took time off campus, to explore Philadelphia’s aged architecture she decided to add historic preservation to her degree.

  While at Temple, Alex is the AIAS (American Institute of Architecture Students) treasurer and she is the peer mentor to a small group of freshmen architecture students. After Temple, she plans on becoming a licensed architect with the preference to work at a firm.  Alex also aspires to work as a professor at some point, in the hopes to teach studio classes.

  Away from academics, Alex ‘s favorite food is fried calamari.  She enjoys listening to a variety of music but she tries to steer clear of jazz and country.  Alex loves to travel, and typically enjoys going on day trips and exploring her surroundings.

  This is Alex’s first summer at RLPS and she is excited for the experience.  Welcome, Alex!

Andrew Davis (third from the right)

Major: Building Science and Sustainable Design
Penn College of Technology & University of Maryland

  When Andrew was younger, he had a vision of designing his own house or his parents house.  As his life developed, Andrew became more interested in building design. 

  Andrew just graduated on May 13th and is now pursuing his Masters of Architecture this coming fall.  While he was obtaining his undergrad at Penn Tech, he was the treasurer of AIAS his 3rd year, he was a club member of USGBC (United States Green Building Council) Students for 3 years and his final year he was the Vice President of USGBC.  This coming fall, at University of Maryland, Andrew will be a teaching assistant.

  Whether it be a round of golf or sailing on his grandfather’s boat, Andrew has a huge passion for the outdoors.   Andrew also is musically gifted, he plays the drums and he occasionally sings. 

  Andrew’s goal is to be a licensed architect in several states while being a designer.  His long term goal would be opening up his own architectural firm or partnering with an existing firm. 

  Andrew interned at RLPS last summer and this past winter break, and we are happy to have him back again this summer!

Madelyn Holliday (second to the right)

Major: Interior Design
Viginia Tech

  Madelyn has always had an interest in design, even as a child.  She took many art  and design  classes throughout high school.  Since people spend the majority of their time indoors, Madelyn decided to select interior design, so she can enhance living spaces and quality of life using colors and materials.

  At Virginia Tech Madelyn has fully immersed herself in student life.  She is in IDEAS (Interior Designers for Education and Sustainability club) where interior design firms and manufacturers’ representatives come in and present their projects.

  Madelyn has also taken Greek life under her belt and is in a sorority, Zeta Tau Alpha, where she is on the Relay for Life team and she is on the design/decoration committee. Madelyn is planning on running the Hokie half marathon at Virginia Tech, this September. 

  As of now, Madelyn sees herself working at a design firm in a large city post graduation.   She hopes to design commercial and retail interiors.  

  Welcome Madelyn, we are happy to have you as a returning intern!

Marlene Sharp (third from the left)

Major: Architecture
Penn State University

  While Marlene was going through school, her favorite subjects were math and art.  She selected architecture as a major so her skills and interests would benefit others.

  Outside of the studio, Marlene is involved in Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, AIAS, Schreyer Honors College, and she enjoys being part of Penn State’s dance marathon known as THON.

  On top of her many involvements in college, Marlene enjoys drawing, reading, golfing, baking and watching Japanese Animation.  Marlene favors Asian cuisine and after spending a semester in Italy she has come to love gelato too.  Coldplay is Marlene’s all-time favorite artist to listen to; other than Coldplay she enjoys popular songs on the radio.

  Marlene not only wants to become a licensed architect, but she also strives to earn an MBA.

  This is Marlene’s second summer at RLPS.  She hopes to discover her true passions  in architecture, while gaining invaluable experience from her mentors at RLPS.

McKenna Achenbach (second to the left)

Major: Marketing w/Minor in Public Relations
Alvernia University

  McKenna has always been interested in the motives behind the actions of her peers, she loves the arts and she values creativity.  Those three interests led her to marketing and communications.

  At Alvernia, McKenna is the President of AMA (American Marketing Association).  During the fall, McKenna is on Alvernia’s volleyball team.  She is also actively involved in taking a service learning course each semester.  McKenna loves service learning courses because she gets hands on experience while giving back to the local community.

  When McKenna is not busy at college she enjoys kayaking, reading self-help books, having bonfires, listening to any genre of music, working out, and playing with her labradoodle, Noodles.

  Mckenna aspires to work as an in-house marketer for 10 to 15 years.  Then she would like to do marketing for a college or university and slowly start teaching courses all while gaining her doctorate, ultimately becoming a full time professor.

  This is our Marketing department’s first intern and it is McKenna’s first summer with RLPS. Welcome!

Mieke Kissick (furthest to the right)

Major: Architecture
Penn State University

  While Mieke was growing up, she always loved building things with her father.  Mieke’s experience with her father compelled her to look into architecture, and it quickly became a good fit.

  At Penn State Mieke stays very busy.  This past year she was the  treasurer of Penn State’s AIAS chapter, she was also a part of AIAS for THON, and a member of SEED (Students for Environmentally Enlightened Design).  On top of that, Mieke is a teaching assistant for a freshmen drawing class.

  Away from academics, Mieke enjoys playing the guitar or ukulele and she likes taking time to knit. When it comes to her music preference, Mieke is currently hooked on Ed Sheeran and her favorite food is pierogis but they have to be homemade. Mieke tries to stay active, she played soccer throughout high school, so once she got to college, she decided to join intramural teams for both soccer and volleyball.

  Mieke is trying to fully immerse herself in the culture at RLPS, this is her second summer interning with us.  We are happy to have her back!




With his first major project complete, 20th-century architect Urban turns to lucrative private projects. The year is 1888. C. Emlen Urban is 25 years old and has just completed his first major architectural commission to rave reviews. The Southern Market Center demonstrated his ability to design and oversee a complex civic building with the ease of a seasoned architect.

This accomplishment, in addition to his expanding involvement in local business and social clubs, led to a groundswell of opportunities that allowed him to continue honing his skills.

Urban’s 1889 introduction to Lancaster’s aspiring 32-year-old confectionery entrepreneur, Milton S. Hershey, led to the design of Hershey’s private residence at 222 S. Queen St.

The full LNP article can be found at Lancaster On-line.