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GKH Celebrates 40 Years

GKH founding partners Mel Hess, John Gibbel and Elvin Kraybill

This year Gibbel Kraybill & Hess LLP, one of Lancaster’s oldest law firms, celebrates its 40th anniversary.

The firm, founded in 1977 by partners John Gibbel, Elvin Kraybill and Melvin Hess, initially had office space in a three-story row home at 113 North Lime Street in Lancaster city. John Gibbel also maintained an office at 10 South Broad Street in Lititz.

When the office space at 113 North Lime became crowded, the growing firm purchased the buildings on either side. Connecting doors were cut into the walls on all three floors, providing adequate space as additional attorneys and support staff were hired.

In 1987 the partnership purchased the Berks Optical building at 41 East Orange Street to replace the increasingly inadequate North Lime Street space. The partners intended to keep and restore the original façade, with all-new construction behind it. As construction progressed, however, the façade collapsed, leaving only a decorative sunburst intact. The sunburst was salvaged and integrated into the lobby décor of the newly constructed building.

40th anniversary open house

In the summer of 2014, with the loss of half the Lancaster office parking lot to the City Hall expansion and the Lititz office bursting at the seams, the partners once again recognized a need for additional and more efficient space. The former Manheim Township School District offices at 2933 Lititz Pike were on the market, and after a lengthy discernment process, GKH purchased the condo unit in December 2014.

After an extensive rebuild, the Lititz and downtown Lancaster offices closed on August 13, 2015, and GKH reopened the following week in its current 2933 Lititz Pike location. This space provides increased efficiency, more opportunity for collaboration between attorneys and staff, plenty of client parking, and an attractive and spacious facility that combines modern comfort and accessibility with the best aspects of GKH’s 40 year history of legal service to the residents, businesses, churches and nonprofits in Lancaster County and beyond.

Since its founding, GKH has grown to 16 attorneys and a dedicated and experienced support staff. Its attorneys represent clients in a broad range of legal matters.  In addition, the firm maintains by-appointment office space at 135 North Duke Street in downtown Lancaster, and Suburban Square in Ardmore.

John Gibbel, the firm’s poet laureate, summarized GKH’s 40 year history this way: “It has been a wonderful journey, not always a piece of cake, but always fruitful and a blessed time of walking together for purposes greater than our own individual efforts.”