Historic Bowman Technical School under new ownership

Cris Collingwood//May 1, 2023

Bowman Technical Institute building in Lancaster - PHOTO/PROVIDED

Historic Bowman Technical School under new ownership

Cris Collingwood//May 1, 2023

Lancaster-based Brent L. Miller has purchased the Bowman Technical School building at 147/149 N. Duke Street, Lancaster. 

The jeweler said it has formed a subsidiary, Bowman Tech LLC.  

Ryan Miller, owner of Brent L. Miller and Miller’s son, said the company is working with partners to determine what will be done with the historic property. 

“It’s a really cool building, especially with the watchmaking,” he said, speaking from inside the building. 

“We are excited to have the opportunity to preserve this important piece of history for both Lancaster City and American jewelry and watchmaking,” he said. 

Bowman Technical Institute building still houses original cases – PHOTO/PROVIDED

There are no plans to reopen a school. 

Ezra F. Bowman founded the company in 1877. His sons John and Charles Bowman moved the business to the building located on the corner of Duke and Chestnut streets in 1912 with their store on the first floor and the school on the 2nd and 3rd floors.  

“At this time, there were departments for watchmaking, engraving, and jewelry work. Its new location could accommodate approximately 100 students,” according to Lancaster History.org the school operated out of this location until 1978, Miller said. 

 The jewelry store on the first floor was open until 1992. The building remains essentially unchanged since that time, still featuring its original jewelry cases and mechanical corner clock from over 100 years ago.  

Brent L. Miller moved to Lancaster in the early 1970s to attend Bowman Technical School and follow in his mother’s footsteps in the jewelry and watchmaking industry, the company said. Miller graduated from Bowman Technical School in 1976 before working at Kay jewelers in The Park City mall and eventually opening Brent L. Miller Jewelers & Goldsmiths with his wife Josephine in 1980. 

 “We are interested in preserving the history of the Bowman Technical School and sharing the story and space in ways that generate interest in watchmaking and local history,” Miller said. 

Today, Brent L. Miller, employs seven bench jewelers, a watchmaker, and a total of 31 people and is currently located at 1610 Manheim Pike.