Additions: Entrances

Buildings change over time, whether in appearance or function and one often affects the other. Sometimes changes are for access, protection from the elements, modernization, energy efficiency or maybe someone just wanted a change. Consider these entrance alterations as examples. Some entrances are seasonal, but others are meant to stay.

Burlington, VT

Burlington, VT

This example is shows the entrance to a restaurant (not shown in the photo is a small (obviously fake) chimney on the longer slope of the roofline of the entrance – like a cottage style). The building itself is the Hotel Vermont – historic image below.

Source: Boston Public Library.

Source: Boston Public Library.

As you can see, the entrance doesn’t exactly match the building. But it is located on the side, and not the front. What do you think?

Next, consider this shed roof front entrance addition in Johnson, VT. This entrance is likely for weather protection, and it appears that there was some attempt to blend it to the building. But the red clapboard, the shed roof, the obvious white gutter (which is only pouring water directly to the foundation), and the vinyl door… well, it leaves much to be desired. The historic integrity of this facade is obscured, as well as the streetscape.


Johnson, VT – located on the main thoroughfare

Both of these examples are obvious additions. Do you find one more obtrusive than the other? In terms of streetscape and architectural integrity, I’d say the Johnson example is incompatible whereas the Burlington example is acceptable. Often this determination is dependent on which facade has the addition.

What do you think? And for either one, how would you improve it?


Shard Villa

From The Historic Architecture of Addison County – Vermont State Register of Historic Places:

Columbus Smith, a successful international attorney specializing in probate law, built Shard Villa in 1872-1874. Warren Thayer, a Burlington, Vermont, architect designed the mansion for Smith in the French Second Empire style from a plate in a popular architecture pattternbook. Father-and-son Middlebury architects George and Clinton Smith, designed the detailing for the structure, as well as a masoluem on the grounds in 1882, constructed after the death of Columbus’ son Willie. The notable grounds, including serpentine stone walls and tree clusters, were designed by English landscape gardener Robert Morris Copeland. In 1886-87 Italian fresco-painter Silvio Pezzoli decorated most interior walls with colorful murals. After Columbus left the mansion and his fortune in trust for elderly Christian women “not addicted to drink,” a rear wing was added in 1922 and one of the earliest group care homes in Addison County established there.

View from the road.

View from the road.


Front entrance.


Closer view from the lawn.

Looking up.

Looking up.


Side view.

On the driveway approach.

On the driveway approach.

Side view shows the historic addition.

Side view shows part of the historic addition.

Breathtaking, yes? Drive by if you’re in the area.

Preservation Photos #156

The Thomas J. McIntyre Federal Building and United States Post Office in Portsmouth, NH constructed 1967.

This building struck me as being particularly sympathetic to its surrounding environment – a modern 1960s government building that perhaps most people will be able to enjoy and read in the landscape.

And speaking of the federal government … remember to VOTE today. It’s your right, privilege and responsibility as an American citizen.

Preservation Pop Quiz

How would you read this building?

Orleans Village, VT Municipal Building. Click and zoom for greater detail.

What do you think of the different brick? The entrance? The front facade?

Preservation Pop Quiz

The subject of this preservation pop quiz is historic architecture & reading buildings. So, to begin, how would you describe this building?  Need a refresher on building description? Read Preservation Basics No. 3 & No. 4.

Please describe this building. If you’re new to this, try it piece by piece: how many stories, how many bays, materials, fenestration, chimneys … and go from there.

The side of the building.

A first story window.

Now these aren’t ideal images for an entire building description, so just see what you can do with the images provided. Any ideas on dates of construction? Style? I’ll leave it up to you. Have fun.

Abandoned Vermont: Weathersfield Store

Often you will come across an abandoned building that has a similar form, even if it’s hidden beneath layers of additions and alterations from previous decades. Usually one room schoolhouses or 1930s service stations are good examples of easily identifiable forms. In Weathersfield, Vermont this building struck me as store or some combination of public service related businesses.

Weathersfield, Vermont

It has been damaged by the Tropical Storm Irene flooding, though I don’t know the extent of the damage prior to the flood. This image shows that an entire and some stairs have been removed.  There is nothing obviously impressive about the building in this state to any passerby, but the interest lies in the stories and the questions, as always.

Looking at this building, I was guessing it retained little of its historic integrity. And the cupola roof has seen better days. I’d guess the Tyvek paper has been there a while as well.

The front of the building: fenestration has been altered, too.

The side of the building: pairs of two-story bays with wood detailing intact, among all of the vinyl elsewhere.

A beautiful Italiante door with a steep step, vinyl siding covering the clapboard, and a roof soffet in need of repairs, among other maintenance.

I always like to know the story of a building, including its past and reason for its current condition. Normally PiP doesn’t share those details for privacy of the building; however, this one seems to warrant it because if any help is going to come to it, it needs to happen quickly. Imagine my surprise when I found this image on the Town of Weathersfield website:

Amsden Store. Historic photo by Charles A. Moore of Ludlow, VT. Click for source.

It looks like a completely different building until you look closely. Remove the porch, the wing on the left, and the staircase on the right and you the current building. The history provided by the Town of Weathersfield is as follows:

The so-called Amsden Store building was built by Charles Amsden around 1869 as his home, and that of some of his Amsden Lime Co. employees in today’s hamlet of Amsden. What was once a booming lime quarrying and manufacturing business, Amsden is situated at a bend in the road on Route 131, just a mile from the stoplight at the junction of Route 106 at Downers Corners.

What a difference, yes? Anyone have any information about its present state of ownership and its fate? Presumably it was most recently divided into apartments. A sign on the front says “For Sale by Owner.” Can you imagine tackling such a project?

Preservation Photos #135

An interior room in the Castle Hill Resort & Spa in Ludlow, VT. It is a National Trust for Historic Preservation Historic Hotel of America.

Answer to Preservation Pop Quiz

The most recent Preservation Pop Quiz asked you to describe the brickwork seen here:

The reason for this quiz was mostly because I didn’t know the answer, and wanted some good preservation colleague input. If you read the comments, you’ll notice that there was a good discussion occurring, with good sources shared. Hopefully everyone learned something new and enjoyed participating and/or reading.

Now, I’m not about to declare myself an expert and give you the “proper” description. But I will go over the brick courses above, based on information gathered from the comments. Feel free to chime in with your opinions. Since Paula wrote the National Register nomination, I’ll defer to her for approval.

The top 10 (or 11 – the picture is difficult to count) rows of brick are “corbeled brick courses.”

The rows with recessed bricks are “stylized, repeating cross shaped recesses in the brick bond.”

The next course below (the brick headers set at a 45 degree angle) are set in a “houndstooth pattern” or “sawtooth pattern.”  (Anyone know the difference or are they interchangeable?) 

The tall bricks are in a soldier bond (referring to those angled to show soldiers and sailors) are set in a sawtooth pattern, as well.

So, yes, this is a complicated brick cornice filled with detailed brickwork. Ten corbeled courses, a recessed cross-shape pattern in the brick, a course of headers set in houndstooth/sawtooth pattern, and a course of soldiers set in the same pattern.

What do you think now?  Good, or shall we refine it more?