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Aldrich Public Library
U.S. Historic district
Contributing property
BarreVT AldrichPublicLibrary.jpg
Aldrich Public Library is located in Vermont
Aldrich Public Library
Location in Vermont
Aldrich Public Library is located in the United States
Aldrich Public Library
Location in the United States
Location 6 Washington St., Barre, Vermont
Area less than one acre
Built 1907 (1907)
Architect Penn Varney
Architectural style Classical Revival
Part of Barre Downtown Historic District (ID73000198)
NRHP reference No. 15000961
Quick facts for kids
Significant dates
Added to NRHP January 5, 2015
Designated CP September 4, 1979

The Aldrich Public Library is the public library serving the city of Barre, Vermont. It is located at 6 Washington Street in the city center, in an architecturally distinguished Classical Revival building constructed in 1907-08 with funds bequested by Leonard Frost Aldrich, a local businessman, and was substantially enlarged in 2000. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Architecture and history

The Aldrich Public Library is a prominent feature of downtown Barre, at the northeast corner of Washington and Elm Streets, across Washington Street from Vermont City Park. It is set back from the intersection, accessed via paved walkways traversing a lawn. It is a two-story building, with a steel frame and brick veneer exterior trimmed in local granite. The front facade is three bays wide, the center one projecting. Banded brick pilasters with Doric capitals articulate each of the bays. The outer bays have three-part windows on each level, set in a shared keystoned granite surround. The main entrance is recessed in the center section, with flanking Ionic columns. It is topped by a decorative granite frieze, and there is a balconied three-part window above. The stairway leading to the entrance is framed by granite sidewalls topped by original Beaux-Arts iron globe light fixtures.

The oldest documented library in Barre was a small subscription library established in 1848. In 1873, the Barre Library Association was organized, as a formal subscription library stored in local businesses and homes. A second subscription library, the French Barre Library, was founded in 1887. These two collections were merged when the Aldrich Library was built in 1907-08. The Aldrich Library was made possible by a bequest from Leonard Frost Aldrich, a local businessman who had died without issue. His bequest included funding for construction of the building and the acquisition of books for its collection. The city council originally sought to have a building completely faced in local granite (the city's primary business), but this was found to be cost prohibitive, and a compromise construction of brick trimmed in local granite was developed by the architect, Penn Varney of Lynn, Massachusetts.

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