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Fairbanks Block

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1892, Lambert Packard. 1197 Main St., City of St. Johnsbury

The retail store that Packard built for the Fairbanks Company is the finest of the Richardsonian commercial buildings he designed in downtown St. Johnsbury. The Fairbanks dry goods operation moved to this high-profile Main Street location from a site adjacent to the scale works (burned 1889). The substantial five-bay facade appears to draw upon H. H. Richardson's Harrison Avenue Ames Store in Boston (1886–1887). Above a ground-floor colonnade of iron Corinthian columns bounded by rusticated brick piers and capped by a quarry-faced granite lintel, Packard established the major theme of the facade with a sequence of recessed round-arched panels framed by archivolts and set with two stories of broad windows separated by checkerwork spandrels. An arcaded corbeled cornice carries a massive stepped parapet bearing the Fairbanks name in raised brick. The show windows and recessed central bays of the ground floor were subsequently filled with remodeled glazing, but otherwise the building retains its original appearance and motifs, resonating with Packard's earlier Masonic Block (1885; demolished) and Passumpsic Bank (1885; 1230 Main Street), his Pythian (1893) and Republican (1888) blocks at 190 and 48 Eastern Avenue, and the Citizens and Merchants bank blocks (1892) at 364 and 370 Railroad Street.

Writing Credits

Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson


What's Nearby


Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson, "Fairbanks Block", [St. Johnsbury, Vermont], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Vermont

Buildings of Vermont, Glenn M. Andres and Curtis B. Johnson. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2013, 275-275.

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