You will get a chance to see a closer view later in the stroll.
The ecru (off-white) details at the roofline look very much like stencils. There are no sculpted or rounded edges and the design is created from a few simple shapes.
Above the fourth floor windows you can see a Wreath surrounding a Cartouche, with a Ribbon in the background.
Now look closely at the details around the second floor windows. This will require good eyesight or a high resolution photo because the details are very small and we are far away.
You will notice two eye-shaped details above the windows; each has a pair of Cherubs holding a shield-like object. Along the sides you will see various floral details until you get to the second panel from the bottom. The left panel has a male figure and the right a female figure.
The third floor windows have the quarter columns, but the panels are filled with floral details this time.
The fourth floor windows are arched and have no columns. Instead, the thin vertical details flanking the windows are revealed to be Pilasters, as they have Capitals. However, since the vertical elements continue above the capitals they look a little awkward out of scale. They terminate in a heavy Cornice that visually separates the topmost floor.
Like always, this is where the serious details start–where they are too far away to see easily. The arches are smaller and in pairs. The quarter columns are back. Almost all the flat surfaces have something carved onto them, including those two center Pilasters.
Notice something different about the top of the building? It is not flat like the others. This time we have a triangular Pediment flanked by Balustrades.
Pay attention to how you are looking at the building. Does your focus stay on a particular detail? Or does it move along the arches? Or perhaps it jumps from one floor to another?
One last thing. Some of the arches are different. Can you see the difference? The arches at either end of the rows have a larger Keystone and a second smaller arch.
Now look down at the left side of the entrance. See that little leaf-like detail? Does it look like a face to you? And perhaps a little fishy?
Whatever the cause, it opened an opportunity. Sometimes these spaces become parking lots, others become parks, but this one has been used for events. You can see remnants of the original building along the walls. If you look up a bit you can see the new framework that keeps the facade stable.
The columns on the ground floor have some nice, old fashioned details.
While the other windows had no decorations, these have ornamental "eyebrows". They are in different states of completeness–some are missing keystones, other are missing parts of the molding. But it is important that they are still here.
Here is one last thing. You can see the from the existing side walls that these buildings are really just brick boxes, and the their actual character comes from the decorations up front. Right now, this empty space could take any shape, but these details separate it from its neighbors.
As expected, there are bricks. But notice that the bricks are not in the orderly courses you see in regular brick walls. These bricks do not have to look good because they are here to be an unseen foundation.
The windows and its narrowness make the front feel vertical, but a closer look shows that there are a lot of horizontal elements that break that up. There are two elements that span the entire width, cutting the facade into three sections.
If you look really close you might see some figures here and there. We will see them again later.
The ground floor with the large arched openings, the next two floors that are bracketed by Pilasters, the next two floors above them that are not, and the topmost floor with another set of Pilasters.
And, there is a pattern in the windows as well. Can you see it? They almost alternate between being rectangular and arched, but look at the top of each window pair. The second and third floors have large single panes above the pairs. The panes above the fourth floor pairs are divided. The fifth and sixth floors match the second and third but without the upper windows.
My favorite section is the large arch with the dark bay windows set behind it. Flat windows would have looked... flat, and the extra depth and shadows are unusual enough to stop the eye.
Look closely at the horizontal detail between the second and third floors. It is another set of critters. We will see them later.
Now look at the very top. They are small and very far away, but it is a pair of Lion heads. Examine them closely, because they have some cousins lurking nearby.
And, like we so often see, all the good details are towards the top of the building.
This pattern changes slightly on the upper levels; the flower panel is replaced by another decorative panel.
Now, look at the two center elements. The square section has a simpler corner cut. Just above that is a shallow bracket with a flower ornament. These continue up the building.
The Pilasters on either side have some seriously leafy capitals. If you look closely you can see some star-shaped flowers poking out from between them. Moving left along the top of the windows, there is some nice cutout details. Just above them–and below the next row of windows–is a Bullnose ledge with even more leaves.
Look at the column to the left. The octagonal base is much taller than normal. The column has a decorative vine growing up it. The capital is unusual. In most cases it would be a round version of the pilaster capitals; otherwise, it might be a classical style. But here we have a plain flared capital with hanging decorations.
And not just any decorations. The corners have ribbons hanging from loops; because this is cast iron, they really are hanging from those loops.
But it is the swags hanging between the ribbons that are the most interesting. Usually they would be leaves or flowers, but these are made of produce. The most easily recognized are the ears of corn.
They are the same as the building two stops before. They are a different color, and the two center elements on the ground floor are missing the flower details in their brackets, but otherwise it is the same pattern. We will see later that the buildings themselves are not exactly the same.
Why do you think two buildings so close together would share the same ornaments? Maybe the same owner? Maybe they were being built at the same time and ornaments came with a bulk discount?
I will tell you to notice the handwriting-like lettering, all the detailed objects on the sides, and the background border that creates an outline around the entire piece.
And how about that carving? There are swoops and swirls and curves and asbolutely no room for weeds.
Well, all the ground floor areas look mostly alike. One building? The height does not change either. Nor does the number of floors. Most likely one building. And the roof line details are all the same and look connected. No doubt now.
Notice how the windows are in columns of three, and then in groups of three until the far end where there is a group of four and then a group of two. That just happens with separate buildings. Look closer at the windows.
Some of the windows have flat tops and other curved. The curved ones come in different shapes. The upper windows are arched but arch details change as well–but only in those groups. Separate.
The first group has a vertical stack of blocks that makes this seem like a separate section. The next two groups are identical but vertical blocks are separating them as well. The next two groups are identical but there are no separating blocks. Could they make a double-width section? And, of course, the last two sections must be separate because they have different numbers of windows.
So, one or many? I do not know and it is not really important. Downtowns, like art, should encourage us to think–and we have.
Well, there is the color. Or really, colors. Look at that blue and then that yellow, and how they pop against the gray of the stone. Notice how, on the upper floors, the pilasters and some of the columns are left gray; notice how the unpainted ones are almost invisible in comparison.
Then there are the shapes. There are cylinders and boxes. Those capitals with the heavy, stylized leaves. The arched openings.
And then there are the patterns. The columns are in different groupings. The center windows are in threes while the flanking windows are in pairs. The pilasters in between have square rising vertically to capitals that intersect with the strong horizontal ledges.
But, none of that is the best reason. Walk to the edge of the sidewalk and look up. Do you see something missing? The windows. Now walk to the other side of those blue columns and look up.
See how the space is really open? The front of this building is another empty facade, like we saw before. But, instead of an empty space there is a building inside a building and it starts at the gray metal wall.
These two buildings feel the most traditionally American Main Street. They would not be out of place in "Meet Me in St. Louis", or a Bradbury story. But, I do not know why.
Is it the colors? They are restrained and elegant looking. Is the crisp details? They do not look weathered at all. Is it the groupings of smaller elements into repeated patterns?
Maybe it is a combination of things. In any case, they just make me happy.
As you walk to the left side of the building, look at each capital. Some have lost some parts, and look bare. These types of decorations were made of small separate parts rather than being cast as one solid piece.
Notice how the ground floor details are polished and smooth, and the upper floors are more textured.
While we are looking, do you notice a pattern in the arches?
Were they connected at one time? Two buildings, one owner?
Now look up. Just below the capital you will see another leafy detail that looks in no way fishy. You know what else? These two details are the same exact details we saw before on the 600 block.
The capital, the two brackets, and the flower detail at the top are cast iron. This one has kept most of its details. If you look at the one on the right side of the building you can see the difference.
Now look up. The upper floors are clad mostly in brick, including the arches. Each Pilaster has a capital that the arches rest on. Look closely at the capital above. What do you see?
Is that a face? It is hard to tell from this angle but it does look like there is a mouth and a nose. We will see this again from across the street.
You know what is more interesting? Look closer at the rail that is nearest to the street. There is text describing the fare to ride. It is only fifteen cents... in 1838.
But, we can see the capital faces better. On the other side of the street they looked a like like Lions, but now we can see that they are Green Men. They have long moustaches and longer eyebrows. They look like they might be angry and yelling, but they could also be laughing out loud.
Once you pass the third door stop and look up. This is the divide between the two buildings and there are two side panels running up the front.
From here the contrast between the stone and the colors is very noticeable. Like the buildings behind you, it is hard to stop and look at one particular section--everything seems to be calling for attention, even at the very top. Even though it is painted in a single color, the shadows make it easy to see the details.
The branch at the bottom looks like it could be from a cemetery--they are a regular motif. At the top is a great decoration, but I have no idea what to call it. It is not a bracket or a capital. What I can say is the upper part is a stylized Palmette.
But, look just above the two arches on the second floor. There is a large detail with a bunch of swirling lines. If you look closer at the very center, you will see another pair of lion heads, this time in profile.
On the second floor, on either side of the windows, are a pair of figures.
The most dramatic detail is just above those windows. There is a panel with two lard scrolls. In the center is an animal head. It could be a lion but the ears are too large. It does look a little like a gremlin but that is unlikely. In any case, it does look ferocious.
There would be a large hole with a barricade along the sidewalk. The space would probably become a parking lot. But with the facades the streetscape is preserved, the space could become a pocket park, or new structures could be built behing the facades.
The light colored stone, the subtle block texture, and the eyebrow details above the windows evoke a classic style of architecture. Imperfections in the blocks and the dark weathering marks help to age the facade.