Facing south toward the Champlain Mill, the Winooski Block is a landmark with great visual power. It sits at a key intersection, built on the site of the house of Ira Allen, one of the founders of Vermont. The imposing brick commercial block contains six storefronts, each with large six-over-six pane display windows, and eighteen evenly spaced tall, segmental-arched windows on the two upper stories. A spectacular wooden cornice with paired brackets and modillions crowns the block. The cornice rises in the center to display “Winooski 1867 Block” in wooden letters with a carved, gold-painted eagle above. Inside, a 60 × 53–foot concert hall occupies the west end of the third floor. Sherman's Cornet Band and the local Roman Catholic parish used the hall regularly in the last quarter of the nineteenth century. Warren Thayer of Burlington drew up the design at the request of three merchant partners who financed the project to locate their stores in the new quarters. Local contractors Frank Peppin and Peter Villemere managed construction, and the Edwards and Stevens foundry nearby on E. Canal Street cast the elaborate iron window hoods and sills and storefront columns. Given the renovations to which commercial blocks are regularly subjected, this building miraculously survives with many of its original features.
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