Lebanon on a nice late summer day is a welcome sight, but in the era of social distancing, it can be hard to keep your distance from other people. What better way to get around this than with a remotely controlled drone?
All photos by Will Trostel.
We fired up a camera drone to rise over the skyline and take a few snapshots of the city as it looks in this moment in history. Take a look at this overview of Lebanon in the year 2020.
The Samler Building dominates the downtown skyline with its green copper trim and conical roof. Originally known as the Nutting Building, it was constructed in the mid-1890s. Across the street is the Farmers Trust Building, also known as the Mann Building, another business hub that’s been around since 1904.
In the left side of the photograph, on 8th Street, the Farmers Market Building can be seen, which dates back to 1892 and has been the subject of ghost tours. The tower of the Tabor Church, now operated by Lives Changed By Christ, is also visible in the distance.
Cumberland Street, the westbound section of Route 422 through Lebanon, is a major road downtown and has been for much of the city’s history. Many businesses, centers, and other institutions can be found on the north and south side of the street, as well as apartment buildings, residences, and offices.
In addition to the businesses and attractions that can be reached on foot, Cumberland Street has historically been a major component of the “Lebanon strip” for car cruisers of the 20th century.
Lebanon’s first college campus, the Harrisburg Area Community College’s Lebanon branch, was built in the former Haak’s Department Store (also known as Skylights) on the 700 block of Cumberland Street and held its first classes in the fall of 1990. It was subject to a massive fire just months after opening, which resulted in the death of one firefighter.
The campus today is currently closed for in-person classes until the end of 2020. Last year, it was reported that the city of Lebanon greenlit a plan to purchase the building for use as a new city hall. HACC President Dr. John Sygeilski wrote that HACC’s presence in Lebanon will not go away after the building is sold.
The Lebanon Community Library is the city’s branch of the Lebanon County Library System, one of six including libraries in Annville, Palmyra, Richland, Myerstown, and Jonestown. Earlier this summer, the library announced that it would be open as a “cooling center” for locals to go to beat the summer heat.
One major feature of the city’s landscape is the Quittapahilla Creek, which runs for almost 17 miles from the eastern end of the county westward, passing through Lebanon and Annville before draining into the Swatara Creek near Palmyra. It’s stocked annually with trout and has improved in quality since the area’s industrial days. The nonprofit Quittapahilla Watershed Association is involved in the health and maintenance of the creek.
The Lebanon Valley Rail Trail enters Lebanon on the south side, crossing over a few streets before terminating at Route 422. The LVRT is currently planning a number of projects to connect the Lebanon end of the trail with the trail that begins east on 422 near the Lebanon Valley Mall. The planned “Phase 6” of the project would link the two ends together through section that includes the proposed John E. Wengert Memorial Park.
The Lebanon High School in the southern side of the city serves about 1,300 students in the Lebanon School District. It’s known for its distinct design which includes three large circular sections surrounding the center. Its first classes were held in September 1969, following a construction period that began in late 1966.
North of the school on 8th Street is the Lebanon County and City Municipal Building. It hosts the offices of many county and city departments and was finished in 1962. At the time of completion, a time capsule box was placed inside the datestone containing historical mementoes.
In 2020, the street in front of the Municipal Building was the stage for a peaceful protest regarding the death of George Floyd. The protest eventually left the Municipal Building and headed north through the city.
On the other side of 8th Street is the Beth Israel Synagogue, a Jewish congregation building that includes a 200-seat sanctuary, the Sisterhood Hall, and a social hall/gymnasium, among other offices. Lebanon’s Jewish population first held meetings in 1907, but the current building was finished and dedicated in 1953.
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