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Preserving Historic Landmarks… It’s How Wohlsen Works

Posted in: News on January 4, 2017

Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess HouseHistorical Significance

The Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess house gains its historical significance from serving as the home to surveyor Andrew Ellicott. Ellicot was the man responsible for the layout of America’s most important city – Washington D.C. Along with welcoming other prominent guests during the turn of the 19th century, this house was the site for counseling Meriwether Lewis on surveying techniques for the Lewis & Clark Expedition.

The Restoration

The von Hess foundation restored this important historic landmark as master carpenter Gottleib Sehner would have when he built the house in 1787. They entrusted Wohlsen Construction with the detailed restoration of the Georgia-style building in 1978.

Wohlsen craftsmen paid painstaking attention to the historical accuracy of every detail – right down to the hand-cut nails and hand-cast window weights. The Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House required extensive exterior work. This included the installation of German Oak hand-split shingles and the water-blasting of paint off the brick façade. Interior renovations made included the restoration of the windows with antique glass and custom-designed curved paneled archways and window frames.

Craftsmen reconstructed the kitchen with a walk-in fireplace and squirrel tail oven. They also erected the adjacent hand-pegged wooden shed. No nails were used for the shed’s construction. Old lumber found in the house was used for the walls and roof shingles . The Sehner-Ellicott-von Hess House now serves as the headquarters for the Historic Preservation Trust of Lancaster County.


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