Dempwolf drawings of Laing Mansion

John A. Dempwolf drawings of Residence for John Laing (Collections of the York County History Center with Annotations by S. H. Smith)

John A. Dempwolf drawings of Residence for John Laing (Collections of the York County History Center with Annotations by S. H. Smith)

John A. Dempwolf’s original 1906 drawings for the Springettsbury Township retirement mansion of West Virginia coal baron John Laing are in the Collections of the York County History Center. This illustration contains the low-resolution search printout plan views for the first and second floors. The first floor includes: a living room, a parlor, a library, a dining room, a kitchen and a pantry. The second floor includes six large bedrooms and three complete baths.

The Dempwolf drawings are not dated, however newspaper articles confirm they were created in 1906. This post is a continuation of last weeks post: Coal Baron built Mansion in Springettsbury.

Details about the Laing Mansion

Circa 1913 Postcard of York Motor Club, York, PA (Postcard is Postmarked June 1914 and is from the Collections of S. H. Smith)

Circa 1913 Postcard of York Motor Club, York, PA (Postcard is Postmarked June 1914 and is from the Collections of S. H. Smith)

This circa 1913 postcard shows the Laing Mansion, with massive wrap-around porch, as it was later used as the clubhouse of the York Motor Club. On May 1, 1906, John and Margaret Laing purchased four adjoining lots, two big lots plus two standard lots, to create one large lot with 120-feet of frontage along north side of East Market Street and 200-feet deep, stretching back along the west side of North Vernon Street (Deed Book 15B, Pages 97 & 100). On March 3, 1907, John and Margaret Laing added two additional adjoining standard lots, along the west side of Vernon Street, creating a mega-lot with a 250-foot depth (Deed Book 15K, Page 89).

The May 8, 1906, issue of The York Daily included an article; leading one to conclude, the Laing Mansion was built as quickly as possible. Quoting from the article entitled: “Proposes Building $12,000 Residence; Plot East of City Purchased by John Laing, Retired West Virginia Mining Capitalist.”

Mr. Laing has engaged J. A. Dempqolf, architect, to prepare plans of for an attractive colonial residence to cost about $12,000, the building of which will be under the supervision of Mr. Laing’s father-in-law, a well-known builder of Hanover.

Ground will be broken for the erection of the new residence as soon as the preliminary plans are completed. Mr. Laing recently sold out his coal mining interests in West Virginia, and will locate in York. He probably will engage in manufacturing or some kind of business after taking up his residence here. He will occupy his new residence as soon as completed.

A $12,000 residence in 1906 would be equivalent to a $420,000 residence in 2016. Mr. Laing’s father-in-law is William A. Slagle. As noted in his obituary; “Mr. Slagle was a carpenter by trade and for years a well known contractor and builder, erecting high class buildings in Frederick, York and Gettysburg, as well as in Hanover.” Both design details of John A. Dempwolf and the construction craftsmanship of William Slagle can be seen in this upper front close-up view of the building as it stands today at 2025 East Market Street.

Upper Front on Residence at 2025 East Market Street (2016 Photo, S. H. Smith)

Upper Front on Residence at 2025 East Market Street (2016 Photo, S. H. Smith)

An article in the May 7, 1912, issue of The York Daily explained why John Laing would be selling the Laing Mansion to the York Motor Club. John Laing moved back south when he accepted the appointment as the Commissioner of the Department of Mines for West Virginia. The title of the property went to new owners, a committee of members of the York Motor Club, on May 13, 1912 (Deed Book 18C, Page 538). The carriage house behind the mansion, if not already converted to automobile use under Laing’s ownership, was almost certainly converted during the York Motor Club ownership. This is the “carriage house” as it exists today, as a four-car garage accessible from North Vernon Street.

Four-Car Garage to the rear of Residence at 2025 East Market Street (2016 Photo, S. H. Smith)

Four-Car Garage to the rear of Residence at 2025 East Market Street (2016 Photo, S. H. Smith)

When the York Motor Club moved their headquarters back downtown, their clubhouse was sold on June 12, 1923 to G. Emanuel Spotz for $18,200 (Deed Book 22M, Page 383). Here is a southwesterly view of the Vernon Street side of the building, as it exists today.

Vernon Street side of Residence at 2025 East Market Street (2016 Photo, S. H. Smith)

Vernon Street side of Residence at 2025 East Market Street (2016 Photo, S. H. Smith)

Links to related posts include:

Reading the HEADLINES; A Quick Index to ALL YorksPast Posts

About Stephen H. Smith

Stephen H. Smith is a design engineer who worked at York International Corp. for 33 years before retiring several years ago to research and write books full time; his second career. The initial emphasis was on family history when he won a national award during 2002 for his first book “Barshingers in America." Positive feedback and that award were influential in his decision to retire early from engineering and start a retirement career.
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