Wayland Free Public Library (1900)

Wayland Library

The history of the Wayland Free Public Library goes back to 1848, making it the first free public library in Massachusetts. Starting in 1850, the library was located in the old Town Hall building (now used as offices). In 1879, the library moved to the new town hall, until the current library building was completed in 1900. The land and funds for the building were provided by Warren G. Roby, a Wayland resident. The brick library was designed by Weston architect, Samuel W. Mead, and the structure displays his interest in Roman architecture and Renaissance sculpture. The architectural firm of Cabot, Everett and Mead also designed the library in Arlington. The library was expanded and renovated in 1987-1988.

Share Button

Boston Public Library (1895)

bpl.jpg

Founded in 1848 by an act of the Massachusetts legislature and first opened in 1854, the Boston Public Library moved to its current building, on Copley Square, in 1895. Designed by Charles Follen McKim, of McKim, Mead, and White, the building (built 1887-1895) is modeled on the style of an Italian Renaissance palazzo and is also influenced by Alberti’s San Francesco at Rimini, with an inner courtyard, based on the Palazzo della Cancelleria in Rome. McKim’s Beaux Arts training led to the classicism of the Library building, influenced in particular by Henri Labrouste‘s Bibliothèque Sainte-Geneviève (built 1843-1850) in Paris. This style would greatly influence the design of American public buildings in the following decades. The Boston Public Library, both inside and out, combines architecture with famous sculpture and mural painting. The neighboring Harvard Medical School building of 1883 was demolished and replaced by Philip Johnson‘s New Brutalist-style Library Addition in 1966 to 1972.

Share Button

George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum (1895)

The George Walter Vincent Smith Art Museum is one of the four (soon to be five) Springfield Museums. The Springfield Museums Association traces its origins to the varied collections of the Springfield City Library Association, gathered in the nineteenth century. Money was raised to construct a seperate art museum building after the association was promised, in 1886, the vast collection of George Walter Vincent Smith and his Springfield-born wife, Belle Townsley Smith. A wealthy carriage manufacturer, Smith had settled in Springfield in 1871 and focused on collecting Asian decorative arts, American and Italian paintings, rugs and textiles. The museum, completed in 1895, was designed to resemble an Italian villa. The ashes of the Smiths are interred inside a wall on the second floor of the museum.

Share Button

Haberstroh Building (1886)

haberstroh-building.jpg

The Haberstroh Building, at 647 Boylston Street in Boston, next to the New Old South Church, was originally a house, built in 1886. From 1888 to 1902, it was the home of Dr. Edward Newton Whittier, a Civil War recipient of the Congressional Medal of Honor, who worked at Harvard Medical School. The house became a business and in 1905, Albert Haberstroh, of the Boston firm of L. Haberstoh & Son, added the four-story bay, which has elaborate copper ornamentation, designed by Haberstroh and done by the Van Noorden sheet metal company.

Share Button

Court Square Building (1892)

court-square-building.jpg

Springfield‘s Court Square Building, built in 1892 along Elm Street, facing Court Square, was designed by Springfield architect F.S. Newman, whose earlier Chicopee Bank Building is located just around the corner on Main Street. The building is constructed of buff colored brick with detailing in granite, brownstone and terra cotta. The commercial and office building was expended in 1900 with the addition of a sixth floor and the construction of a hotel, which was eventually converted to offices in 1920. Many of the offices in the building were utilized by lawyers, given the proximity of the County Courthouse and City Hall. The Court Square Theater was also a part of the original building, but this was torn down in 1957 and replaced with a parking lot. There are currently plans to restore the building as part of the Court Square Redevelopment Project.

Share Button