2020 Hunting & Outdoor Expo
Downtown Marriott & Convention Center
Youth Wildlife Conservation Experience
Lancaster County Convention Center
25 S Queen Street -Lancaster, PA
A FREE Family Event!
Convention Center, Lancaster, Pennsylvania
Anchoring Lancaster's historic Penn Square, the integrated Lancaster County Convention Center and Lancaster Marriott Hotel are located in the heart of energetic Downtown Lancaster, recognized as America's oldest inland city.
A site brimming with American history
Paying remarkable homage to the region's history, the integrated complex incorporates historic structures and important historical narratives within and around its new architecture. The entrance at the intersection of King and Queen Streets incorporates the iconic 19th-century façade of the landmark Watt & Shand department store, a Beaux Arts style structure designed by native Lancaster architect C. Emlen Urban.
The area in and around the convention center complex also encompasses the Thaddeus Stevens & Lydia Hamilton Smith Historic Site, with future development under the leadership of LancasterHistory.org.
This site includes the former residence, law office, and Kleiss Tavern owned by powerful political leader, U.S. Congressman, and abolitionist Thaddeus Stevens. Stevens is considered the father of public education and authored the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the U.S. Constitution – those ending slavery, extending equal protection to all citizens, and granting all male citizens the right to vote.
Stevens' home and law office in 2011 were named by the National Park Service as a National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom site.
In addition to the Stevens' properties, the complex area also includes boarding houses that belonged to Lydia Hamilton Smith, a free woman of color and Stevens' business manager and confidante. Mrs. Smith was a widow with two young sons when she first became Stevens' housekeeper in 1847, and she would come to operate her own successful businesses in Lancaster and Washington, D.C. at a time when few women had yet done so.
From the lobby off the Vine Street entrance to the convention center, guests are able to view a water cistern unearthed during a pre-construction archeological dig. The cistern dates from the Civil War period and was modified in a manner that more than suggests Stevens and Smith used it to hide Americans escaping slavery along the Underground Railroad system.
Together, these historic structures help define a historic precinct in Downtown Lancaster that provides a tangible link to Stevens and Smith and the inspiring narrative themes connected to their achievements – civil rights, equality, slavery, the Civil War, women's history, and public education – themes important to the understanding and appreciation of the quality of life we enjoy in America today.