LancasterHistory gets $150K in planning grants for Thaddeus Stevens-Lydia Hamilton Smith site

(June 4, 2019)

Ever since the Lancaster County Convention Center was built,  a vacant house next door has been silently waiting for its moment to be transformed into a museum and history center celebrating two of Lancaster’s most notable residents.

LancasterHistory, the developer of the Thaddeus Stevens & Lydia Hamilton Smith Historic Site at the corner of Queen and Vine streets in downtown Lancaster, recently received $150,000 in grants that will allow the organization to take a step forward.

It’s the first progressive step for the site in the nearly nine years, since LancasterHistory took over development responsibilities for the site from the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County.

The two grants of $75,000 come from the National Endowment for the Humanities on the federal level and the High Foundation locally.

“These are planning grants. That’s kind of key,” LancasterHistory President and CEO Thomas Ryan said. “It’s to plan, not to execute.”

The site is projected to be a museum and scholarship center  based around the lives and legacies of Stevens, an abolitionist attorney, congressman and public education advocate, and Smith, the manager of his household and a successful local African American businesswoman in her own right.