Welcome to the PreserVision Blog

Welcome to PreserVision, the new blog of Historic York, Inc.!

Have you ever wondered about buildings in our community? How old they are, who built them, what architectural style they feature?

Or about architectural styles in general? What’s the difference between a Queen Anne and an Italiante building? Are Art Deco and Art Moderne the same?

And how about terms? What, exactly, is an oriel? Or the purpose of a gargoyle verses a grotesque?

York County, Pennsylvania is a distinctive community, a patchwork of charming small towns nestled among the region’s famous rolling hills. And then there’s York City, which boasts a diversity of architectural styles not found in many communities. Simply look around Continental Square and you’ll see Federal, Chateausque, Romanesque, Commercial, Beaux Arts, Hi Tech, Italianate, Greek Revival, Italian Renaissance, Post Modern, and more – and that’s without even moving your feet!

Historic York, Inc. is the voice of historic buildings in York County, and through the PreserVision blog we intend to bring the community’s built legacy to life! In addition to featuring prominent local buildings, styles, and terms, we’ll also report on local preservation news and events, share links of note to fans of historic buildings, and provide advice and resources for owners of historic homes and buildings.


Row of Oriels on Locust Street in York City. © Scott D. Butcher

And if you happen to be wondering about one of the questions posed above – what is an oriel? – wonder no more!

An oriel is essentially a bay window that projects from a façade. You’ll often find oriels associated with Victorian styles, like Italianate. The architects of York City loved oriels so much that you’ll find block after block of row home with these picturesque features. Some oriels are very ornate, with decorative masonry and woodwork, while others are extreme simple and completely unadorned.

Oriels are often supported by corbels, and in a few instances around town the corbels are art unto themselves! So remember, orioles are both birds and a popular baseball team, but oriels are a distinctive architectural feature that adds an attractive element to a building’s exterior while creating a wee bit more space on the interior.


Decorative corbel under an oriel on South Beaver Street in York City. © Scott D. Butcher

Got a question or an idea for a future blog topic?  Drop us a note at info@historicyork.org with your suggestions!  Meanwhile, be sure to like us on Facebook and feel free to share our blogs with colleagues, friends, and family. Like what you see here?  Please consider joining Historic York, Inc.!

Your continued financial support makes it possible for HYI to continue advocating for York County’s historic treasures and providing educational offerings like the PreserVision blog! Surf here to learn more. http://bit.ly/1MUTW2H .

This week’s blog was contributed by Historic York, Inc. board member Scott D. Butcher.


2 thoughts on “Welcome to the PreserVision Blog

  1. Love the introduction of PreserVision! Keep it up.

    About orioles, Scott, is is correct to say that the main difference between a BAY window and an ORIOLE window is that the oriole projection does not come all the way down to street level? Could you explain the distinction?

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