111-115 Church Street
Sherman Building/Leunig's Building
The above postcard captures a parade on Church Street in May 1910. Onlookers stand along the street as drummers march southward from the Howard Opera House in the background toward the Sherman Building in the foreground. (1) The Sherman Building is a three-story, five-bay front-facing-parapet-gable façade brick building located on the northwesterly corner of Church Street and College Street. In the shot it displays a sign for the C.H. Bessey and Son, seen over the parade goers. The store opened in 1898 and a listing in the 1906 City Directory classifies the owner as a news dealer who also sold stationary and phonographs. (2)
This building appears on the 1869 Sanborn fire insurance map, well before the postcard photograph was taken. (3) A building exists in that location on the 1830 Ammi Young as well, although it cannot be definitively identified as the same structure. (4) According to the City of Burlington zoning records it was built in 1847. (5) In 1869 it was occupied by a hardware store and a hat store. (6) Then, in 1887 the hardware store downsized and moved to the back, or westerly side of the building block, and the storefront became occupied by F.L. Taft & Co. drug store. (7) Fayette L. Taft was a local Burlington resident who maintained this drugstore, which later doubled as a tobacco shop, until 1913 when Isaac Rosenberg became listed as the storeowner. (8) By 1926 a restaurant had moved into the building, replacing the hardware store. (9) "Abraham's" restaurant became a popular and successful establishment and in less than ten years time the building façade was remodeled to match new trends and fashion.
In 1933 architect Louis S. Newton was contracted to remodel the Church Street building façade, resulting in its current art deco style. (10) Then, in 1946 the College Street façade was also remodeled to match. (11) "Abraham's" was lettered along the building's parapet during the remodel where it remained until 2006 when the Department of Planning and Zoning issued a permit allowing new building owners to change the lettering to "Leunig's," seen in the recent view. (12) While the remodeling did cover the original exterior and alter the window shapes, the building's massing still tells of its historic roots.
Church St. looking northwest from College St.
October, 23, 2012, 7:40 a.m.
Photo by Elissa Portman
In the recent photograph, the exterior brick has been covered with an art deco style porcelain enameled steel façade, effacing the originally federal style brick exterior. (13) The window sashes have been replaced, and glass block was added along the easterly face where eight windows span the once four-bay length. Although a full view of the building's exterior is not forthcoming in the current photograph (above), the images below offer another view for comparison. Close examination of the building's roofline in the postcard and contemporary photograph reveals the absence of the second, northerly chimney, and most northerly bay seen in the postcard. The building name across the top of the parapet is obscured from full view in the photograph by trees. A zoning permit was issued in 1995 for an addition along the southerly side of the building. (14) The awning that covers the southerly addition seems to mimic the shape of its historic counterpart. Mixed use of the Sherman Building as a restaurant and retail space has continued throughout its history to present day. Currently this location is home to Leunig's Bistro and Lounge, and the Danforth Handcrafted Pewter store on the ground floor. A spa and a yoga studio also rent space in the building.