Student of York, Pa’s Dempwolf design firm: ‘Oh my gosh, guess what – that building was a Dempwolf’

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Isabella’s Taverna and Tapas Bar occupies the first floor of this Dempwolf-designed building at 44 N. Market St. in Frederick, Md. The noted York, Pa.-based J.A. Dempwolf architecural firm designed scores of buildings outside the borders of York County, where the firm’s handiwork is well known today. (See additional Frederick News-Post photograph below.) Also of interest: Dempwolf windmill graced north bank of York’s Codorus Creek in 1870s and Fawn Township’s magnificent Centre Presbyterian Church worthy of a looksee and Dempwolf architects built York’s skyline, history and Famed Dempwolf architects designed big house in tiny Gatchelville, in rural York County and Dempwolf’s Ashcombe Mansion in Cumberland County: ‘I spent a fortune on this house. It’s crazy’.
It’s tempting to pigeonhole the work of the Dempwolfs, the well-known York, Pa., architectural firm, as exclusive to York County.
But actually, much of their design was built outside of York County 900-plus square miles.
An interesting story appearing in the Frederick News-Post on May 22 attests to the Dempwolf presence in that northern Maryland town.
Part of that story, “Building a dream: Dempwolf family’s distinctive touch helps Frederick architecture shine,” follows:

Look up.
Instead of watching the ground, or only seeing what’s at eye level when walking around downtown Frederick, take in the beauty of the design of J.A. Dempwolf Architecture Firm’s buildings.
PNC Bank on Patrick and Market streets, Isabella’s Taverna and Tapas Bar and Volt restaurant all reside in buildings designed by the York, Pa.-based firm, which was open from around 1880 until around 1940.
Becky Cybularz and Paul Engelstad presented details on the firm and buildings it designed in Frederick, other parts of Maryland and in Pennsylvania. In all, historians estimate John Augustus Dempwolf, Reinhardt Dempwolf and Frederick Dempwolf designed more than 600 buildings. J.A. and Reinhardt were brothers and emigrated from Germany. Frederick was J.A.’s son.
Cybularz grew up in York and heard this or the other building were a “Dempwolf,” but didn’t know what a Dempwolf was until after she finished her undergraduate degree in 2006 at Penn State. She went to work for a contractor and Historic York Inc. and learned about the men’s work.
Working for both organizations “made it so exciting because it brought (the details) all together,” Cybularz said. “These guys had done all of these buildings throughout York and everywhere else.”
After a few years, she went to graduate school for historic preservation.
“I went to South Carolina to get away from York, but I never really left it because I did my thesis on (the Dempwolfs),” she said. “I discovered the massive amounts of buildings that they had produced or designed.”
The Dempwolf architecture firm had a national reputation and Reinhardt’s designs can be found in many states, including Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia, North Carolina, Indiana and Colorado, Cybularz said.
“I travel a lot, so it’s nice to go by a building, wherever I am, and go, ‘You know, that looks kind of like a Dempwolf,’ and then look through my lists of all the buildings that they’ve done and say, ‘Oh my gosh, guess what — that building was a Dempwolf,'” Cybularz said.

Interested in the rest of the story? Visit here.
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John Augustus Dempwolf is wearing glasses and facing camera, while his brother and business partner, Reinhardt Dempwolf, continues his work, in this photograph from their York office.
Also of interest, again

Fawn Township’s magnificent Centre Presbyterian Church worthy of a looksee
Dempwolf architects built York’s skyline, history.
Famed Dempwolf architects designed big house in tiny Gatchelville, in rural York County.
Dempwolf’s Ashcombe Mansion in Cumberland County: ‘I spent a fortune on this house. It’s crazy’.
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All York Town Square posts from the start. Then use “find” function on browser to search for keywords.
– Of course, you can always search for York Town Square posts on Google. For example, when you search for yorktownsquare and Dempwolf, you get this.
Top photo, courtesy Frederick News-Post.
Bottom photo, courtesy Becky Cybularz

About Jim McClure

Editor of the York Daily Record/Sunday News, ydr.com and its many digital products. Journalism/history blogger: yorktownsquare.com. Author or co-author of seven York County, Pa., history books.
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