Thursday, March 19, 2009

Art Deco Facade in Greenville KY

Old building with a 1930s update

I saw this building last fall in Greenville, KY, on a corner near the courthouse in the downtown business district.

The second and third floors appear to have their original fancy window heads. I think the windows might have some Italianate influence, even though the roof line isn't anything special. (If I'm wrong about Italianate, please don't hesitate to correct me.)

I am positive about this -- the concrete front of the building at ground level is Art Deco in style. It was almost certainly added in the 1920s or 1930s. My theory is that a new generation took ownership of the building and wanted to modernize the store front. The fine Art Deco fire station and city hall, built by WPA workers just a block away, may have provided inspiration.

The Art Deco facade was an inappropriate modernization that totally destroyed the building's architectural integrity. However, it's interesting that the facade has developed some architectural value of its own, with the passage of time. I doubt if that will happen with the 1960s facades that Mark wrote about in the comments of another post.

Note: I originally subtitled this post "19th century building with a 1930s update", but I've changed it to "Old building with a 1930s update". I've decided I shouldn't try to estimate the building's age. The building appears to be made of concrete blocks. I did some research on concrete blocks this morning. Hollow concrete block became widely available in the early 1900s, due to new, widely-available block-making machinery. However, both solid and hollow concrete blocks were made and used by individual contractors as early as the mid-1800s.


John Ruberry said...

My guess...and a that it is a 19th century bldg.

Genevieve said...

That's what I think too, John. I am "guesstimating" that it was built around 1870-1890.

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