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Downtown Design Guidelines


Cornice and pediments detail

An elaborate masonry, wood, or metal cornice, sometimes topped with a masonry or metal pediment, is a distinctive architectural feature of many of Stoughton’s commercial buildings. Cornices and pediments should be preserved. When the cornice and pediment exist and are in reasonable condition, repairs can be made and an ongoing program of maintenance can insure their preservation. If these elements are missing, they can be replaced in wood, metal, brick, or in modern materials like fiberglass and lightweight cements.

Entablatures are composed of three parts: the architrave, frieze and cornice. The cornice and gutter are sometimes the same element. When deteriorated, this feature can usually be replicated in wood or metal. The frieze and architrave below are made of metal, wood, or brick. These elements can also be repaired as can metal or wood dentils, consoles or brackets which are important architectural features of Italianate and Renaissance commercial architecture.

Guidelines for Cornices and Pediments
Preserve, through ongoing maintenance, original cornices and pediments.
If cornice and/or pediment is missing, replace in wood, metal or brick
, or in compatible modern materials like fiberglass, using historic photographs as a guide.

Repair and replace damaged or missing dentils and brackets when necessary.



Windows are a major visual feature of the upper storefront facade. Whether simple and unadorned, or round-topped with ornamental hoods, windows were designed to fill their openings in the wall. Great efforts should be made to retain original windows: replace broken glass and missing putty; repair the wood frames and sash; and keep all wood and metal surfaces caulked and painted. Materials which match the original should be used. Matching the pattern of sash division in original windows, such as 2-over-2, or 1-over-1 sash, is also important.
As mentioned earlier, the proportion of the windows should not be changed by installing smaller windows and infilling around them. Nor should the windows be enlarged: such changes destroy the existing pattern of openings which is important to the historic integrity of Stoughton.

Windows and Energy
Before assuming that old windows are useless from an energy standpoint and making a significant investment in new, “energy efficient” windows, consider other sources of heat loss. Most of the heat loss in 19th century commercial buildings occurs through the ceiling and roof; the front and back walls lose the next largest amount of heat. The side walls lose very little heat because they are adjacent to other buildings. Front and back walls and roof should be properly insulated as a first step to energy efficiency. Note that front and rear walls can be insulated from the interior more effectively than from the exterior, as adding insulation and vapor barrier on the inside will not damage the significant architectural features on the exterior of the building.

Comparatively little heat is lost through windows as long as simple steps are taken to maintain them so they seal properly. Additional energy savings can be achieved with existing windows as follows:

  1. Install exterior storm windows the same size and pattern as existing windows.
  2. Replace channels for double hung windows with energy-efficient channels.


Downtown Design Guidelines:  Building Width   Bay Spacing   Height & Bands   Proportion   Solids & Voids   Tonality
  Materials & Color   Roofs & Setbacks   Storefront Design   Lintel & Transom   Shop Windows   Entry   Storefront Doors
  Storefront Awnings   Upper Facades   Cornices & Windows   Upper Windows   Window Hoods   Signs   Sign Location

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