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
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.
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.
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.
Links to related posts include:
- Coal Baron built Mansion in Springettsbury
- 1906 York Automobile Owners form York Motor Club; their Club House still stands
- 1906 Charter Members of the York Motor Club
- Dr. Spotz used Race Car to make York County house calls
- Dr. Spotz off on house calls in 1900
- Karl Ort’s aerial photo of East York
- York County abodes of Judge Nevin Wanner
- 1912 Aviation Meet at York Fairgrounds sponsored by York Motor Club
- York-Built Car breaks York Fairgrounds Track Record in Winning Race against Aeroplane
- Board of Governors of the Susquehanna Trail Association visit York in 1918