We chose to stay in Georgetown, Texas, which is about 25 miles north of Austin. We thought that this would provide easy access to the sights and restaurants of Austin. However, our drive through the downtown area of this city of 48,000 residents revealed many reasons to spend more time touring Georgetown than we expected.
Our first area to visit was the historic downtown square. We parked a block away and saw this scene along the sidewalk leading to the town square.
David Love, a prosperous merchant constructed this limestone and pressed metal structure to house his dry good business.
Mesker Brothers of St. Louis manufactured highly decorative sheet metal storefronts. Virtually every structure on the square includes some amount of metal detailing.
Constructed to house general merchandise, this building is a fine example of limestone masonry--note the segmental arched headers with keystones over the windows and an elegantly detailed pressed metal cornice.
The mortar (but missing pestle) atop the front façade recalls Hodges Brothers Drugs, which operated in this building for several decades.
The intact terra cotta façade with Corinthian columns is an excellent example of the Neoclassical style for which bankers of that day expressed a preference. In front of the building is a statue.
The figure is a statue of the county’s namesake, Robert McAlpin Williamson--perhaps better known these days as “Three-Legged Willie.”
Born in Georgia, Williamson was 15 when he was afflicted with tubercular arthritis. This caused his right-leg to stiffen--permanently--at a 90-degree angle. A wooden leg was fastened to Williamson’s right knee, so he could walk. The end result left him with one good leg, one bad leg, and one wooden leg--leading to the descriptive nickname he acquired in life.
He was a soldier, statesman, lawyer and newspaper publisher, but there is some question if he ever lived in the county--or even visited it (Brad Stutzman at statesman.com/news/news/local/statue-honors-countys-namesake/nb4KR/).
The front exterior was covered with a simple brick façade in the 1920's. This early brickwork was discovered intact beneath the stucco veneer applied in the mid-twentieth century.
As we turned the corner onto Eighth Street, we saw this sign (below). The bottom area of practice caught our attention.
The most recent remodeling of the Emporium highlights the vertical glass panes in the three transom windows on the front façade. Over the years, it was occupied by a tailor, a meat market/sausage factory, a confectionery, jewelry store, and an ice cream factory.
The Marks Building used corrugated metal infill topped with a decorative cornice, which was more economical than the decorative Mesker Brothers components.
A pressed metal cornice with details crowns the front façade and provides a unified front for what was originally two separate structures..
Skilled masons constructed walls of dressed limestone ashlar into which handsome arched windows were incorporated. Stone's Drug Store occupied the ground floor when the structure was originally completed.
The descriptions of the buildings were direct quotes from the brochure "A Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Georgetown." See also georgetownheritagesociety.com