Several months ago, I featured the Windsor, Connecticut Train Station for Thursday Doors. About 200 feet southeast of the train station is the Windsor Freight Depot. The depot was built by the Hartford and New Haven Railroad, to handle freight traffic, the volume of which was growing along the line. It’s unclear exactly when the depot was built. Most sources indicate 1870. The depot has been restored and is being used by the Windsor Art Center (WAC) for visual and performing arts.
Like the train station, the depot is a masonry structure. Unlike the train station, the depot is short on interesting architectural details. That’s to be expected, the building was essentially a short-term warehouse. Its design is consistent with an emphasis being placed on function over form. The large arched entrances that now feature small doors, used to open onto a large wooden loading dock, giving workers the freedom to move material in and out efficiently. The entire length of the docks, on both sides of the building, was once protected by an overhanging roof.
Three beautiful aesthetic details from the original building were preserved as the depot was restored. The small roof over what had been the main entrance, the wagon wheel (oculus) windows in the attic and the pyramidal roofed ventilators along the ridge. I think these details, along with the stone lintels above the windows and the three course thick brick arches more than make up for the absence of other features. The long brick building is a picture of strength in a time when we are more likely to see prefab concrete and metal buildings being assembled like the Kenner Building kits I had when I was a kid, with little concern for their appearance.
The freight depot was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1988, about the same time as the station. This usually means that I can pin down all construction details. The entry for this building is as sketchy as every other source of information, but I like the last paragraph:
“The exact date of construction of this building is not known. A small railroad station appears on the 1869 map at this location and may be the same building; or it might have been built in the 1870’s after the new station was completed and the old one abandoned. Whatever the case, the building is an excellent example of a mid-19th century (functional) commercial architecture; utilitarian in form, yet picturesque in expression.”
Some of the photos in the gallery are of the nearby buildings in what once was an industrial area of town. Several of these have been restored and converted to residential service and some new apartments/condos are being built, with a style that compliments the older buildings. Other old industrial buildings have been repurposed, but they will have to wait for a third visit to this site in order to be featured. You will notice that, as with the railroad station, I discovered some old photos at the Library of Congress which I put in a second gallery today, for the diehards.
Thursday Doors is a weekly tradition here, and on many other blogs. This gathering of the door faithful has been organized by Norm Frampton, and is open to all door enthusiasts. Ride the rails up to Norm’s page, check out his door(s) and click on the blue button to find more doors and a chance to add your doors.
While I have your attention, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention that The Cherished Object Blogfest begins tomorrow. If you have an object you cherish, please consider sharing it with a large group of bloggers. Reestablish some old connections, make some new friends and have some fun.