Not until 1949 did Vermont get a major example of the modern classicism that became standard for public works projects during the Great Depression. Burlington architect Ruth Reynolds Freeman's design for this building dates from 1941, but final plans and construction were delayed until after World War II. The building was sited opposite the state house and scaled to the National Life Insurance Company Building (WA19) to give formal resolution to the state house green. The smooth, Vermont marble facades were composed like a classical colonnade—four-story piers that frame slightly recessed stacks of metal-framed windows and spandrels and carry a flush frieze and fifth-story attic. In contrast to the retrospective historicism of the state house (WA20) and the National Life building, the stylized details of this severe structure symbolized a hopeful future. The frieze reliefs, one for each of Vermont's fourteen counties, range from birds flying through leaves in the forest (nature) to buzz saws and factories (industrial progress). On the aluminum main double, doors the goddess of agriculture, Ceres, who also graces the top of the state house dome, holds the state seal.
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State Office Building
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