Located at the corner of School Street and Main Street in the village of Essex, New York, the Edwards Store was built c. 1836 by tailor Henry Edwards. Its original design was based upon the popular Greek Revival style, but later Victorian details were added including Carpenter Gothic vergeboards and bay windows (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 15).
Throughout the years the building has been host to many mercantile businesses and occupants.
The Architecture of the Edwards Store
This building on Essex’s Main Street has a brick exterior in Greek Revival style with an early Victorian roof (Living Places). The three-bay gable front is characteristic of the Greek Revival, but the lacy looking design work on the eaves is definitely a Victorian feature (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 15).
Despite being modernized like many historical buildings, the Edwards Store still has its original six-over-six light sash, which is an important design feature often lost when a building is remodeled (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 15).
The small door located in the peak of the front gable was originally equipped with a lynch and pulley system that was used to load supplies into the loft (“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” 15). Perhaps the stairway inside was inadequate to easily carry big or heavy loads up to the second floor, or maybe it was simply more expedient to use the outdoor pulley system?
“The ideal commercial building in Essex is one where the owner lives on the second floor and the business is operated in the first-floor space. Most commercial buildings in town were constructed to function in this manner, and a few still do so.” (Images of America: Essex on Lake Champlain. 95)
Functions of the Edwards Store Building
The Edwards Store has passed through the hands of many owners and businesses throughout the years. The building is also sometimes referred to as the Edwards Brick Store, one of several different names adopted over the years as ownership transferred.
The building was originally used as a men’s ‘haberdashery’ (clothing store), and was once the village liquor store. It has also contained several retail stores. Recently it has been used as a “residence for marina employees and is now rented, furnished with antiques, on a seasonal basis.” (Essex Marina on Lake Champlain)
Additional Resources for the Edwards Store
This map (with satellite image overlay) will help you locate the Edwards Store and see how its location relates to other historic buildings in the historic district.
View Flaneur’s Guide to Essex, New York in a larger map
References for the Edwards Store
“Essex: An Architectural Guide.” Essex Community Heritage Organization, 1986.
“Essex Village Historic District.” Living Places. Ed. Julia Gombach. The Gombach Group, 2010. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. <http://www.livingplaces.com/NY/Essex_County/Essex_Town/Essex_Village_Historic_District.html>.
Hislop, David C., Jr. Essex on Lake Champlain. Charleston, SC: Arcadia Pub., 2009. Print. Images of America.
“Historic Essex.” Historic Essex. Essex Community Heritage Organization. Web. 28 Nov. 2012. .
McNulty, George F., and Margaret Scheinin. Essex; the Architectural Heritage. Burlington, VT: Queen City Printers, 1971. Print.
Smith, H. P. History of Essex County: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. Syracuse, N. Y.: D. Mason &, 1885. Print.