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Learning from Lewisburg
7. Downtown

15 At the corner of Market and Second Sts.:
  Note how the curbs and store-fronts take a step back from the street.
  The next two blocks of Market St. were the original market area of town – a widening of the main street to permit weekly occupation by local farmers and craftspersons. Typical of a Pennsylvania town, the market block or market square in its different forms brought commerce into the middle of the town. The market section is visible on the ground here, as in many towns, by a shift from parallel-parked cars to diagonally parked cars
  The "market" section of widened street on Market St., seen here looking east from 4th toward the commercial district — in a postcard from a more mundane time when "real" stores dominated, and three Ford Pintos could meet on a corner.
16 At the corner of Market and Third Sts.:  
  Here the two main avenues of Lewisburg intersect. Market and Third Streets are wider than the other streets of town and were designed as the principal east/west and north/south routes through town. For residents of Lewisburg, this is the main intersection of town – although students identify the main intersection of town as the highway intersection at Rt. 15 & Market St, or the traffic light at 7th & Market as the main intersection Note the Doric architecture (and pronounced entasis of the columns) on the Sovereign Bank, the Doric porches on the Post Office, and the Ionic architecture of the Mellon Bank.
    Classical Greek architectural elements on stolid public buildings in the middle of town; Greek Revival is the architecture of customer confidence.
17 Detour south (left) one block to the intersection of Third and St. Louis Sts.:
  Churches stand at three of four corners. What is the apparent importance of religion in the urban fabric of the Pennsylvania town, compared to the centrality of commerce?
  Looking south from Market & Third from the commercial center of town to the 3-church Holy Corner a block away.
  On the way back to Market St. note:
  -- the pier of the old Opera House (1869) at the entrance to the town parking lot on the left (west) side of the street. This parking lot preserves the footprint of this important communal entertainment structure which burned early in the 20th Century.
  -- the dramatically ugly, squat structure which now houses the CVS, built to replace a four-story department store structure which burned a few decades ago.
18 Cross Market St. and walk up the north side of Market; stop at the corner of Market and Fourth Sts.:
  Note the end to the widened market blocks. The periodic market continues to be healthy in Lewisburg, it's just not here. Two miles west of here is Farmers' Market, a weekly Wednesday assembly of local farmers, bakers, flower growers, bulk-food purveyors, flea-market vendors, and related small merchants. Scenic, fresh, and tasty, the merchandise attracts community members for shopping. This is a good place to get a sense of the cultural variety of the region, as Old Order Mennonites operate a number of the stalls
Rural landscape at Lewisburg.
  The Wednesday market reminds us that the essential central-Pennsylvania character of the region continues in spite of the island of "gentility" that is downtown Lewisburg. Union County presents a well-isolated example of rural development in Pennsylvania. The county we see is the product of a long history of conflicting demands on the landscape, between farms, non-farm residences, businesses, and recreation. Farmers value prime soil, flat land, water, and contiguity to other farm land. Much of the center of the valley fits this requirement, and is in dairy farms. Within and around that region are clusters of Old Order families. Needing to be together because the difficulty in traveling by buggy or bicycle, these families are arrayed around a church or a school. With more hand labor, they can exploit more diverse areas with smaller farms, especially, hilly land).
  Hot sausage sandwich stand at Wednesday market, on Fairground Road.
  Fresh produce in season is irresistable.
  Agriculture is important to the economy of the county, although it directly only employs a couple percent of the population.
  On the street:
  Note the Ionic architecture of the M&T bank. 
  Note the orange and blue tiled, Art-Deco “Campus Theatre” where you can still see first runs in a spacious old time theater at small town prices, and walk home at 11 PM feeling reasonably safe. It’s recently under new management and showing more interesting films while retaining — exploiting? — its small town feel.
  Façade of Campus Theatre.
< Previous/ 0 Main/ 1 Campus/ 2 Connections/ 3 Susquehanna/ 4 Preindustial town/
5 Read a house
/ 6 Deindustrializing/ 7 Downtown/ 8 Lower town/ 9 Highway/ 10 Past & future / Next >