Fourth Street, Burlington, Iowa

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I walked through an alley down by the railyards, and came back up Fourth Street, which is what I would call the secondary main street of downtown Burlington.

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There are surprisingly few vacant lots or parking lots; most of the downtown along these two streets is intact.

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My favorite building in the town was this Italianate-meets-French Gothic; its formal front doesn’t face Fourth, but rather the cross street.

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The reason I’ve come to love these Iowa river towns is that they preserve a lot of the architectural whimsy that St. Louis possessed in the Nineteenth Century but later demolished for the early skyscrapers of the late Nineteenth and early Twentieth Centuries.

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Seriously, what was this architect thinking?  Rules are broken at random, and the eclecticism is wonderful.

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Along Fourth Street, the building reverts to brick on its less formal side.

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This stout church of what looks like yellow limestone dominates the street as its elevation begins to rise.

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Above and below are two stunning Beaux-Arts bank buildings, still occupied and well-maintained.

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This stunning red sandstone building looks like buildings I’ve seen in New York; I don’t know what style to call it, but it seems to have Italianate roots.  It is now the history museum for the city.

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As Fourth Street goes up higher, the businesses and churches begin to turn into houses as the residential neighborhood above downtown takes over.

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I was amazed by the unexpected beauty of Burlington, and perhaps I can go back sometime in the future and photograph more of its housing stock now that I have covered downtown.

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5 Responses

  1. Susan Ratekin Krogmeier

    02/25/2014, 01:05 am

    I grew up in Burlington, Iowa and lived in St. Louis for 10 years. Therefore I was very interested in your perspective of our fair city. I really enjoyed your “trained” eye & knowledge of the architecture of these buildings I spent my childhood in.
    Thank you!

    Reply
  2. Linda Murphy

    02/25/2014, 01:11 am

    Next time you come to Burlington, Iowa, you should ask for the tour. The main street for the downtown area is Jefferson not 3rd Street. The one bank building is really City Hall, never has been a bank. The other is a funeral home. You missed a lot of the charm of our town. The Capitol Movie Theatre has been redone. There is a beautiful old stone building that is an antique mall at the other end of Jefferson Street. Please come back to Burlington and see what you missed.

    Reply
  3. brian hopkins

    02/25/2014, 12:12 pm

    Thanks for showcasing are amazing town. If you’re ever coming through the area again give me a call we would love to take you on a tour and out to lunch or dinner. 319-457-0044

    Reply
  4. melissa mulholland

    02/25/2014, 01:44 pm

    The big white house is called the Pearl.
    We love it. Lots of work ongoing…….
    next time e-mail me and perhaps you can
    see inside.?

    Sincerely
    Melissa

    Reply

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