Bacon Free Library (1881)

Funding for the Bacon Free Library, which overlooks the Charles River in South Natick, came from the estate of Oliver Bacon, who died in 1878, in memory of his wife. She had been the first librarian of the Bacon Library’s predecessor, which was initially located in her own home and then in a small brick building built in 1870. The Bacon Free Library, built in 1880-1881, also houses the Natick Historical Society Museum on the building’s lower level.

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Granville Public Library (1902)

The libraries designed by Hartford architect George Keller are considered by some to be the high points of his career. Like the libraries he had designed earlier for the Connecticut communities of Norfolk (1888) and Ansonia (1892), Keller’s plan for the Granville Public Library is in the Richardsonian Romanesque style. The building, which opened in 1902, features a rubble foundation, yellow brick construction with red sandstone, round tower and slate hip roof. Keller may have been influenced by the design of the library in Shelton, Connecticut, designed by Charles T. Beardsley, which also used yellow brick and was in turn influenced by Keller’s Ansonia Library. The Granville Library was founded after Milton B. Whitney of Westville, originally from Granville, donated $5,000, a sum which was added to by donations solicited by the women of the Granville Literary Club.

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Richard Salter Storrs Library (1932)

In 1907, Sarah Williams Storrs, who lived in the former home of her grandfather, Rev. Richard Salter Storrs in Longmeadow, left the house and $5000 to the town to establish a library in memory of her grandfather. The house contained the library into the 1930s, expanding to a second building to the rear in 1916. In 1932, through the efforts of the private nonprofit library corporation and the Town of Longmeadow, a new Richard Salter Storrs Library building was opened. The house, which had previously occupied the site of the new Library, was moved to a new location, just to the south. The Georgian Revival-style Library was restored and expanded in 1989.

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Waltham Public Library (1915)

Waltham Public Library

In 1865, Waltham‘s Free Town Library was established as a merger of the earlier libraries of the Waltham Social Club, the Rumford Institute, and the Agricultural Library Association. It was initially located above a bank and, from 1880, in a building at the corner of Charles and Moody Streets. The current library was built in 1914-1915 and was designed in the Colonial Revival style by the Boston firm of Loring and Leland. The builders were Horton and Hemingway of Boston. To make way for the new Library, a tavern, built in 1672 and known as the Central House, was torn down. The library is also known as the Francis Buttrick Library, after the building‘s benefactor. Francis Buttrick, who came to Waltham in 1838 and became wealthy in the lumber and real estate businesses. He left a $60,000 bequest for a library in 1894, but due to legal issues the money had not been available for use for many years. Through the accrual of interest, the bequest had grown to $123,731 by 1914. The Library was expanded in the 1990s. Merry Christmas from Historic Buildings of Massachusetts!

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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.

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Boston Public Library (1895)

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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.

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