The austere stone framing around the windows of this 1855 building designed for merchant Alexander Urquhart are typical of a Montréal architectural style using local greystone. In New York, this kind of façade would have been made of wrought iron. Here, wrought-iron columns were employed to allow light to penetrate indoors. But stone remained the preferred material for façades, with builders becoming more skilled in its use until they reached the pure and delicate lines we see here, leading the way to modern 20th-century trends.
The unbridled ornamentation of the Caverhill building, built ten years after the Urquhart building, marked a new high in Victorian exuberance. This wholesale hardware store was obviously prepared to go to great lengths to impress its customers!
Such architectural details (although usually more discreet) abound in the district and almost overshadow the technical innovations of the time (wider windows, flat roofs, etc.) and the fact that buildings now took up all the available space on their lots.