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 Courtesy Farmington Historical Society
Construction of Farmington’s Savings Bank Block began shortly after the Great Fire and was completed in 1887.The dirt roads were remarkably wide enough for ample parking today.
shops, a walking tour of downtown offers the day- tripper the chance to step into the past and discover the magnificent Main Street experience that was, and still is, Farmington downtown.
Strolling along Main and Broadway streets, you can’t help but notice the intricate stone craft and classic architecture of the old brick buildings. From the polychrome masonry above Tranten’s store, to the staggered panel-brick styling and soaring parapets (façade) rising above the rooftops of the Belcher Building and the Music Hall; the arched windows and intricate carvings adorning the Oddfellows Hall, to the quoining (inter-locking brick) on the corners of the County Courthouse, Farmington
has an ambience that is all its own. Even if you don’t know the difference between the Romanesque Revival design of the Savings Bank Block, the Itali- anate architecture of the Dolbier-Pillsbury Block, or the Queen Anne design of The Music Hall Block, you will surely appreciate the elaborately patterned masonry and ornate cornices that adorn the exteri- ors of these brick behemoths. Adding to the town’s historic charm, you will notice several older build- ings such as those on the south side of Broadway, each made of stone, brick or stucco, with wooden façades that were still standing after the Great Fire
of 1886. Even the street lamps give the sense of the old gas lights that once stood on these streets.
Several of the brick buildings date back to the rebuilding of Farmington between 1886-1888, and were designed by noted Lewiston architect George Coombs, many of which are listed on the National Register of Historic Places (NRHP). Coombs is credited with designing Farmington’s Merrill Hall, the Savings Bank Block, several notable churches, schools and homes in Farmington, and throughout western Maine. As stated in the NRHP archives,
two of Coombs’s most “architecturally imposing” buildings in the downtown Farmington area are the Franklin County Courthouse and Music Hall. “Both of these notable and still largely intact structures ... feature elements of the emerging Queen Anne style [and] are visible ... in the surface ornamentation of their façades, although the courthouse is principally a [Victorian] Romanesque Revival design.” Accord- ing to Farmington Historical Society vice president, Jane Woodman, “Most of the brick was made here in Maine, much of it, right here in Farmington.”
Later period buildings have also honored the area’s historic roots. According to www.downtownfarming-, the State Farm Insurance building (formerly
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