Thursday Doors – Windsor Freight Depot

Windsor Freight Depot
Windsor Freight Depot

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.

kenner BuildingSet
I loved this toy

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.

 

56 thoughts on “Thursday Doors – Windsor Freight Depot

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  1. Nice door and building Dan..I like the wagon wheel windows. The building that was remodeled into apartments reminds me of one like that in our area. They converted a paper mill building into beautiful and pricey apartments on the river. Might be a target some day for Thursday doors.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I do love a good brick building and this one has charm, as I see Judy already stated. I always like it when these old buildings are restored. Hoping to join the Cherished Blog Fest, but as I leave for another, shorter trip early tomorrow morning, not sure that will happen.

    janet

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It opens up 8:01 EST tonight – you could sneak a short post in before you go. Sorry, no pressure, really. Thanks for your comment here. I do like brick buildings and I love it when they are restored. This one clearly needed some work. Enjoy your trip!

      Like

  3. I agree with GP Cox – this is a grand old building. It doesn’t need a lot of architectural ‘flash and sparkle’ ;)

    I really like the composition of your first photo that highlight what I consider are the buildings best features – the wagon-wheel window and the long line of lights along the side over each of the large arched windows. There’s also the little cloche tops on each of the peeks.
    I think this building is winner :)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joanne. That composition was more by avoidance than inclusion. Since the moved the entrance to the west wall, they located the electrical service to the north side and I was trying to get the original door, without the transformer. I do really like the line of lights (which I forgot to mention). I agree, it’s a winner.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Norm. I really like those round windows, and the brickwork around them is some very fine work. I think it compliments the station and I’m glad to see them try to compliment this while building something new.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Your early morning image is my favorite! I really like the wagon wheel window, and those vents along the ridge line, and all the brick.

    I’m glad they are restoring, and remaking the old buildings for apartments, and commerce preserving some history while they modernize the interior.

    I also enjoyed seeing the old Black & Whites of the building. It was a lovely contrast to your images seeing it then and now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Deborah. I don’t usually find photos with the NRHP applications. I thought these were particularly interesting, as they showed how they were adding the third vent and they highlight the detail around the arches and round openings.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I’m a sucker for old black and white photos, Dan, so I’m glad you decided to include them here with the up-to-date building shots. It’s amazing how much history old buildings have. Looking at this kind of photo always makes me think of the clichéd, but oh so true, saying: “Imagine if these walls could talk!”

    Got a kick out of your Kenner Building kit pic — reminds me of the Lincoln Logs I played with when I was young. I always enjoyed the fact that I essentially LIVED in the house on the box!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You can’t go wrong with an old brick train station, Dan. Such an appealingly retro look (and retro mode of transportation). The B&W pics made me think of the train station I stop at every day on my way to and from work, where they display pics going back at least a hundred years. And that toy building set reminds me of the model train my father set up every year at Christmas when I was a kid. Great memories. Funny how trains have a sort of built-in nostalgia vibe, isn’t it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Trains really do have that effect on me, Paul. I lived the Kenner sets and Lincoln Logs but my favorite was my Erector set. My brother had a train. A family friend had an absolutely amazing train layout that took up an entire bedroom in their house.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. A very individual looking building style! I’m joining the ones who like your capture with the outside lights Very practical for long winters more up North! Kind of sad that they make the modern railway stations look so business like that one doesn’t want to go there. Great post as always, Dan!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I love the way you always throw history into your posts, Dan. You must be a history buff or at least it would seem that way. Beautiful post and I especially like the shot of the plastic flowers. Yeah, you know me and flowers. LOL <3

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Amy. I think the flowers are metal. They have them at each corner and they add just the right amount of silly to the building :)

      I do enjoy reading the history of these buildings. I hope people realize why we need to keep them in good repair.

      Liked by 1 person

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