Groff Funeral Home

One in a series of portraits of Lancaster’s landmark architecture, acknowledged or not.

Name: Fred F. Groff Funeral Home

Address: 234 West Orange Street

Built: 1954

Architect: Henry Y. Shaub

The Fred F. Groff Funeral Home is an enigma: a monumental slab of a building tucked discreetly into the rowhouse-dominated streetscape of West Orange Street.  Resembling nothing so much as an enourmous barge to ferry the dead across the river Styx, the building exudes a mysterious sobriety in spite of the gleaming stainless steel curlicues of its Eisenhower-era signage.  Befitting a house of coffins, cadavers, and hearses, the building travels along starkly horizontal lines, from its long Roman bricks to its sweeping ribbons of marble.  Its entry portals glow like the Art Deco pearly gates etched into a flat limestone tablet looming mutely above the Orange Street sidewalk.

The building is the work of Henry Y. Shaub, a Lancaster native whose other notable contributions include the Posey Ironworks (1910, 1916), Shaub’s Shoes (1929), and McCaskey High School (1938).