Posted on March 17, 2016 by Anne Corvelle
Four blocks down East King Street, still within walking distance of the square in Lancaster City, sits the original location of the Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home. Built in 1899 by steel fabricator A. B. Rote (just blocks from his company at Plum & Walnut Streets), it has been in the Snyder family since Charles F. Snyder, Sr., moved his family into the home to begin his business in 1947.
Because I have a curious nature and love to learn the stories and history behind just about everything, I sat down with Chip Snyder last week and picked his brain to learn more about both the building and neighborhood in which I spend most days of the week.
First up, why this particular location?
Besides being in a good neighborhood on the main street in town, Charles F. Snyder, Sr. had the foresight to see that this Georgian estate was a large property with plenty of room to expand. The house also had plenty of room for the entire family, beginning with his immediate family, and later adding his wife and 6 children.
What has changed within the property?
Prior to any changes, the home featured a wrap-around sun porch and, what is now the parking lot, a large yard with a pond in the center. The first expansion happened in 1959, closing in the sun porch to make the main viewing rooms. In 1985, major changes occurred with Chip and his family moving in and his parents and Aunt Florence (more like his second mother) moving to Millersville – this is especially significant as it was the first time in his lifetime that Charles Sr. would live away from King St. The year also brought a second expansion, a two-floor addition comprising 7500 square feet. After several years of continuous growth within the business, the most recent change occurred in 1994 when Chip and his family moved out due to more space being required. The growing number of funeral directors necessitated the transformation of the living quarters to office space.
With the opening of the larger, more modern Lititz Pike location, why stay?
The King Street location is filled with family memories, along with the memories of all the families we’ve served. This is the home base of the business, and our main offices continue to operate here.
The Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory has been a part of the neighborhood for nearly 70 years, right in the heart of the city. The Snyder family loved living on East King St., being part of the rich history of the city, and experiencing the changes in the burgeoning arts scene and rising up of businesses throughout the city. For Chip, it is a lifetime of memories of home, where he grew up, walking to school two blocks away, at St. Anthony’s, playing on the streets of the neighborhood, at Musser & Reservoir Parks and the Boys Club, and seeing the commitment of his father to this community.
Where do we go from here? The plan is that the Charles F. Snyder Funeral Home & Crematory will always be a part of the community, always ready to serve our neighbors and friends.
March 18, 2016
This is a great one. I especially appreciate it as I grew up one block away, at 533 E. Orange Street which is now the (empty) convent. I know all the streets and alleys etc. It was a wonderful neighborhood to grow up in, very safe and friendly. I miss it and, as I drive or walk around the area, I still feel “at home”. I can understand how Chip, Doreen, Chad, Christina et al feel a strong attachment to the area and especially their home.
March 18, 2016
Nice blog, Anne – Interesting and informative. Funny coincidence – I was speaking with Chip about the King St. location just last Saturday. Didn’t realize it’s the main HQ until he told me.Keep up the great work, All!Matt Patterson
Our four funeral homes in Lancaster County makes it easy and convenient to make arrangements and host services close to home.