Thursday, December 13, 2007

A golden age

I noticed these decorative corner pieces in an unlikely place late this fall.
These winged lions are guarding the four corners of Harriman Station. Despite the power generating station's out-of-the-way location in a remote corner of Whitingham only accessible from Readsboro, when Harriman was built it was the pinnacle of power generating technology, and the gem of the Deerfield and Connecticut River Valley power facilities.
This level of architectural detail isn't only an indication of the station's importance, it's also an example of a late nineteenth- and early twentieth-century movement toward more architecturally significant public and industrial buildings. Many industrial buildings of the period are characterized by neoclassical elements like large rows of tall windows, each separated from the others by a pillar, creating the image of columns, as well as details such as these lions.
Harriman Station was built in the early 1920s, during the era's peak, and not long before its demise during the Great Depression.

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