Lewisburg’s historic district was created in 1985. The district encompasses most of the Borough and a large portion of the Bucknell campus, and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It consists of 871 contributing historic buildings, structures and sites.
Lewisburg is what historians have classified as a “Pennsylvania Town”, a distinct town layout developed in Colonial Pennsylvania. The classic form has a main street with a town square in the center, usually with a courthouse. Streets are typically numbered in one direction and named after trees in the other. In the case of Lewisburg, the streets parallel to the main street are named after Saints, which may be unique.
The contributing National Register historic buildings in Lewisburg cover the period from around 1780 to 1960 (a building must be 50 years old to be listed on the National Register). There are 18th century log, stone, and brick buildings along Water Street and Front Street, which was the early commercial district of the town. Later buildings throughout the town represent virtually every historic type and style; Lewisburg has good examples of buildings in: Federal, Greek Revival, Gothic Revival, Early Italianate, Romanesque Revival, various Classical Revival styles, Late Italianate, Second Empire, Queen Anne, Gothic Victorian, Arts and Crafts, Colonial Revival, Tudor Revival, Neoclassical Revival, Georgian Revival, Beaux Arts, Art Deco, Sears Roebuck kit houses and mid-century Modern (the “House and Garden House of the Year” from 1952 is part of the district). There are entire neighborhoods of vernacular houses from the 19th and early 20th century interspersed with earlier and more elaborate structures. The Bucknell campus has a subtle diversity of styles, which have a visual unity because of their brick construction, often with cream colored-trim. In addition to the houses, there are large public buildings, commercial buildings, bridges, monuments and sites.
The Lewisburg Historic District is remarkable because of its neighborhoods, each having its own character. Even more remarkable is the fact that these neighborhoods have survived into the 21st century, intact. The active Historic Architectural Review Board, or HARB, is responsible for maintaining the historic integrity of the district.
Thanks to Ken LeVan, of LeVan Design for this information and the picture of the porch. Other photos courtesy of the Susquehanna River Valleys Visitors Bureau.