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Commercial Architecture

The commercial buildings that line Vermont's Main Streets reflect a number of architectural trends that span over two hundred years. The façades of commercial blocks changed frequently to keep up with changing styles. Often the only part of the building to be altered was the street-level storefront, usually benefiting from larger plate glass windows or new doors, signs and awnings. But often the entire building received an overhaul, from new brackets and window moldings to a completely new exterior. In dating your historic image, it is not necessary to determine the original style of each building but rather the style of the most recent updates.

The images below are only representative examples of each style, and the characteristics of each style require a more in depth discussion. It may be necessary to read further about each style in order to accurately narrow the date of your image.

Click on the image below to read further.

Federal Greek Revival Italianate
Federal Blocks Greek Revival Blocks Itlianate
Richardsonian Romanesque French Second Empire Colonial Revival
Romanesque French Second Empire Colonial Revival
Art Deco Streamline Moderne Modern
Art Deco Streamline ModernStreamline Modern Modern

Read about storefront signs

Read about commercial roadside architecture

Landscape Change Menu New Breed Marketing New Breed Marketing University of Vermont University of Vermont The National Endowment for the Humanities National Science Foundation Linthilac Foundation