The Block is one of the most striking commercial compositions to be found in a Vermont village. In the aftermath of a disastrous Main Street fire in 1886, South Royalton merchants hired Guernsey to create a building with a unified, continuous facade overlooking the village green. The Block contained twelve individual stores behind a cohesive elevation that is cast iron on the ground floor and Italianate brick on the upper floor (three stores at the Windsor Street end were lost to fire in 1968). Rather than producing a strictly uniform facade, Guernsey designed a theme and variations. Rhythms determined by the sequence of show windows, store entrances, and doors to the upper floors are echoed in the second-floor brick paneling, window variations, and the profile of the roof parapet. The parapets present a variety of corbels, arches, and brick friezes. The composition is remarkably intact and exemplifies the architectural possibilities of unity within diversity. Not uncommon in village commercial districts, fires gave Guernsey the opportunity to design a number of other “union” blocks, including the 1893 Block in Essex Junction.
You are here
If SAH Archipedia has been useful to you, please consider supporting it.
SAH Archipedia tells the story of the United States through its buildings, landscapes, and cities. This freely available resource empowers the public with authoritative knowledge that deepens their understanding and appreciation of the built environment. But the Society of Architectural Historians, which created SAH Archipedia with University of Virginia Press, needs your support to maintain the high-caliber research, writing, photography, cartography, editing, design, and programming that make SAH Archipedia a trusted online resource available to all who value the history of place, heritage tourism, and learning.