136 W. Main St., The Cohen Building

Project Overview

Architect: Joseph Royer         Year Built: 1907       Architectural Style: Classical Revival


Architectural Description

136 W. Main is a two story Classical Revival building designed by Joseph Royer in 1907. Prominently located in downtown Urbana, 136 W. Main is constructed of red brick with white terra cotta classical detailing. It sits on a limestone base. The first floor of the building is punched with storefront glazing. The upper story has a horizontal row of double-hung windows with classically-style terra cotta window surrounds. The main façade is vertically divided into three bays by four terra cotta pilasters. An entablature horizontally divides the façade between the first and second stories. The pilasters support the entablature on the first and second stories, the second of which sits below an ornate projecting classical cornice constructed of terra cotta. “Nat H. Cohen” is carved into the entablature. The cornice has brackets and dentil detailing. An intricately carved terra cotta eagle is positioned above the main entrance of 136 W. Main.

Historical Description

In the late 1800s, no town could call itself legitimate unless it had two railroads, two banks, a cigar factory, a tailor, dressmaker, and a milliner. Nathan Cohen was the town cigar manufacturer and in 1907, he commissioned the building of 136 W. Main to house his cigar factory. After Cohen retired, the building housed a variety of businesses including the Embassy Tavern and One Thirty Barber Shop. Currently the  houses a law office.
Cohen was born in Philadelphia in 1850. After working in theater and opera, Cohen decided to settle in Urbana and start a tobacco and cigar store. In 1880, he married Addie Bernstein, daughter of prominent Champaign merchant Sol Bernstein. The family settled in Urbana in a home initially located at the corner of West Elm and Orchard and later moved to the 700 block of East Green Street.
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Created on: Wednesday, April 4, 2012 - 14:36
- Author - admin
- Contributors: KevinG