Splendid Stone Structures of Annville

Detailed Tour Information

See Tour Map at bottom of page - numbers on map correspond to numbered descriptions below.

1. The Biever House

This five-bay 2½-story limestone house constructed in 1814 in the Georgian style, was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976. The Biever (also spelled “Beaver”) family arrived in Annville circa 1800 and quickly became one of the leading families of the community. John D. Biever (1812-1880) was perhaps the most noteworthy of the family, holding several political offices and operating a large tanning establishment south of his residence. He played a pivotal role in the construction of the First Evangelical Lutheran Church at 200 East Main Street.

The Biever house is constructed of limestone with huge limestone "quoins" on the corners to provide stability. An attempt at regular coursing of high quality, well-cut limestone was made on the front façade, but the gable ends and rear of the house are very irregular. Window frames are pegged and mortised. The window sash is not original.

The pilastered and reeded main doorway is decorated with a fine pickwork pattern, also used in the cornice decoration. The three gable roof dormers on the front slope of the roof also feature this pick work design. The fan window in the attic level has a brick arch and pick work done in a swag motif.

2. Arndt Home

46 South Lancaster Street. On the corner of Lancaster and Queen Streets is the Arndt home (circa 1795), an early house altered by time, but nevertheless charming. The old hitching post and stone walkway still survive. The iron fence around property is typical of so many old homes in this area, providing protection against wandering dogs and livestock.

Note the outside vaulted cellar door and the lovely yard. The inside of the house features board-lined walls in the main room and a steep narrow staircase with open beams in some of the rooms. Roof destroyed in 1915 tornado, shown in picture.

At the southwest corner of the property of the Arndt home was what we think was a public well. A post-like wooden structure (hand pump?) can be seen in the lower right hand corner of the Harpel image, next to two men who are talking,

3. Seabold Home

38 South Lancaster. J. Seabold home. Built prior to 1860 (it appears on the 1860 map of Annville). Four-bay with two front doors. Victorian porch added. Seabold family ran the Seabold Drug Store which sat on the corner now occupied by Turkey Hill.

4. Kreider Home

30 South Lancaster. This home was identified as owned by a H. Kreider family on the 1875 map, but on the 1860 map it was identified as a J. Seabold home. Four bay with small, classical front porch.

5. Batdorf Building

103-109 West Main Street. John Hener, who purchased this land in 1781 from Martin Ulrich, was required, as a condition of purchase to erect a dwelling house within a certain number of years. Since the property did not revert to Ulrich, it can be assumed the limestone building was erected shortly after the Revolutionary War. By 1810 John Hener’s estate sold the property to Frederick Miller for $1092, a sum large enough to indicate Hener had indeed constructed a house there.

The building is well named: Michael Batdorf and his son John operated a store at for many years. Michael bought the building in 1895 and son John’s proprietorship extended half a century, 1919-1968, long enough for its dim reaches, lit only by single small light bulbs, to become legendary.

Other parts of the building served many important functions. Waltz's Barber Shop occupied the west end of the building for over a century. In the 1920s the second floor served as the town's phone exchange and the Patriotic Order of Sons of America met on the third floor in the early 1900s.

6. Abraham Shenk Home

115 West Main Street. This was a later-period stone home in Annville, mid 1800s, showing some early signs of Victorian influence in the woodwork and flattened roof line. The brick Victorian addition at the side was added later. Building used as the home and office of Dr. Leroy Heilman from 1932-72. Briefly in 1983 housed a fixed-price upscale French restaurant.

7. Washington House

This large limestone building has served Annville as a public house, tavern, a store, and hotel for over two centuries. John Eberhard Bender had petitioned for and been granted in 1789 a tavern license by Dauphin county for “Anwill Town.” The petition stated that Bender had already erected a convenient house with stables suitable for a public house for the accommodation of travelers and others. Thus, the building was already built in 1789.

This building was an attractive stone hotel used by travelers on the Dauphin and Berks County Turnpike, which was routed through Annville in 1816. Through part of the 19th century, the building served as a sequence of stores. When William Miller purchased the property in 1884, it again became a tavern

Note the boxed cornice, pent eaves, large stone lintels, and the original corner entrance doorway. Stone masonry restored by Rotunda Brothers in 2019-20.

8. Franz Gruber Home

146 West Main Street. This corner home was built in 1793 by resident Frank Gruber, a distinguished military man. An example of 18th century stonework, the house has a main section of nine rooms with a center hall and a servant’s wing of four rooms.

It is built in Georgian style. Note the twin-paneled doors with transoms, pent eaves, and radiating arches over the windows. Note also the cellar doors on the brick and stone house and the iron rings on the stone steps of the Gruber house. These rings were used to help slide barrels of molasses and dark brown sugar into the basement.

9. Lewis Gilbert Inn

140 West Main Street. Lewis Gilbert Inn, ca. 1790. Operated as a small hotel. President Van Buren and his presidential party stopped for refreshments here during his visit in June 1839.

Triangular window hoods ornament this two-and-a-half story house with paneled front doorway. The porch is a Victorian addition to the original stone house.

The partition between the rooms on the first floor, west side could be drawn up to the ceiling, allowing the entire side of the house to become one room for the purpose of entertaining and dancing.

10. Fleischer Home and Livery

Built around 1780, this is a large stone house with a two-story rear addition. Georgian features decorate it, including pent eaves and wooden lintels. The roof over the sidewalk, not original to the house, is a typical addition to a business place in Annville. This building was home to Paul Kettering’s store for many decades in the 1900s.

11. Annville Elementary School

205 South White Oak. Annville High School, then Elementary School. Built from hand-cut Annville limestone in 1926.

Renovated in 1987-90.

12. 401 South White Oak Street

We think this stone home was built in ca. 1797, possibly by the Raiguel Family. Around 1840, it became associated with the David Kreider farm, which included the nearby flouring mill and the brick home and stone barn (now apartments) across the Quittie to the north.

13. Kreider Flouring Mill

Abraham Raiguel’s nephew, Abram Raiguel, built this mill to the north of the mansion in 1797. David Kreider purchased the mill in 1840. Five of his sons—Andrew, David, Henry, Joseph, and Aaron—would later build successful businesses and mansions in Annville Township.

The 1887 Sandborn map shows the Kreider Flouring Mill and an attached sawmill, both running off the main (horizontal?) waterwheel. Also, the map shows a separate water-powered John Stamm furniture factory running off the same large mill pond.

The second image below is a sketch from the 1875 Atlas of Lebanon county, showing the water flow pattern through the Kreider mill and showing the Stamm building as well..

14. Raiguel Mansion

450 South White Oak. Mansion was built in 1793 by Abram Raiguel (1766-1840), nephew of Abraham Raiguel (died in 1795) who was one of the founders of Annville. The elder Raiguel in ~1762 laid out and sold lots that have defined the streets and neighborhoods of part of current day Annville.

The Raiguel family were millers, and built three very similar mills on the Quittapahilla Creek: one in 1793 where Spruce Street crosses the Quittie (torn down after a major fire but stones were used to build the existing stone pump house); Bachman Mill in 1831 (also torn down after a fire) in the Quittie Park near the Swingholm Bridge; and the 1797 Kreider Flouring Mill on this tour.

Abram Raiguel was also one of the donors of the land on part of which was erected the Jerusalem Church and part was consecrated for use as a burial place – Annville’s oldest graveyard.

15. Jerusalem Church

200 South white Oak Street. In 1804, the Lutheran and Reformed Congregations, who had worshipped in Annville since the 1730s, built the first church in Annville on land donated by Abraham Raiguel (1766-1841) and Adam Ulrich (1772-1847). “The Jerusalem Church of the Evangelical Lutheran and German Reformed Congregations of Annville and its Vicinity” was a magnificent three-story limestone structure with a grand balcony, encircling three walls, that housed the first church pipe organ in Annville.

In 1872, the Lutherans sold their share of the Jerusalem Church to the Reformed Congregation for $3000, and the church became known as Christ Reformed Church.

Raiguel and Ulrich also donated the land east of the church for use as a cemetery. Most of the Annville’s pioneered were buried here between 1804 and 1895.

In 1903, when church expansion was deemed necessary, the present building replaced the original church. It is an L-shaped limestone building with three-story square bell tower. Shortly after the Reformed Church became the United Church of Christ in 1957, the church was renamed Christ Church UCC.

Three Additional Buildings are Important to the History of the Jerusalem Church

Directly across White Oak Street from the current UCC church is the original stone parsonage (ca. 1804) and a log home (ca. 1804) next door that is now covered in red-brown siding that was built for the contractor who oversaw the construction of the church and parsonage.

Those two buildings as they appear today are shown in the first accompanying image.

A third building, further north on the west side of South White Oak Street was at one time a church school for the Jerusalem Church (blue siding in second image)

Image from 1888 Fowler and Moyer Map of Annville shows the Jerusalem Church, the Kreider Mill and Stamm Furniture Mill, the stone Kreider Home near the mill, and the David Kreider brick home and stone barn just north of the Quittie.

Map of Splendid Stone Structures of Annville Walking Tour