In this day of the "big box" stores replacing independent locally-owned and operated stores (or shops) in the downtown blocks of smaller towns, it is refreshing to see the town square of Georgetown, Texas alive and thriving. (Now Georgetown is not a "small" town--its population of 48,000 is expected to double by 2020. And the people we talked to seemed determined not to lose the character of its town square.)
We begin the second report of our walk around this historic square at the corner of Eighth and Main.
Highly skilled masons incorporated dramatic arched openings accentuated with finely detailed, hand-carved ornamentation into the Romanesque Revival style limestone structure. It has served as a motion picture house, a Buick dealership, and a soda fountain.
At the corner of Eighth and Main, these two views (above and below) show benches that are welcoming places to people-watch.
Hand-hewn limestone, cast iron, and pressed metal components were creatively combined in this Victorian commercial building.
This limestone structure originally housed a saloon and billiards parlor, before becoming a restaurant and a pharmacy.
Hand-hewn limestone was used to exemplify the Romanesque Revival style. An early fire completely destroyed the interior, and the owners painted the stone storefront to cover smoke stains.
Constructed simultaneously,. these intact storefronts feature detailed woodwork, recessed double-door entries, plain metal infill and a simple metal cornice. Departing from the local tradition of limestone, these buildings feature imported brick facades accented by cast iron columns.
Both buildings are owned by the Williamson County Sun, which has published from this location since 1934.
With an onion dome spire soaring majestically from the corner tower, the Lodge became a major element in Georgetown's streetscape and skyline. The ground floor housed a drugstore, the Post Office, a furniture store, and, most recently, a restaurant.
The Cianfrani Coffee Company (above) is part of the Gold Building (below).
Around 1939, the building housed Gold's Department Store, which was updated in 1968 to a more modern façade. The 2007 renovation changed the modern 1960's style to resemble the original 1912 storefront.
This pressed metal storefront was marketed by catalog, offering affordable yet stylish alternatives for the "public" facades of buildings. There is even some similarity to the motifs to the building next door (see below).
With its wooden storefront, recessed double-door entry and decorative metal cornice, this early store typified commercial building traditions of its day.
One of Georgetown's most outstanding examples of high Victorian commercial architecture, this building featured cast iron columns, an oriel window and a decorative pressed metal cornice.
More importantly, it now houses a restaurant--and we're hungry.
The descriptions of the properties are taken from A Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Georgetown and can also be found at georgetownheritagesociety.com