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Nichols Memorial Library

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1909–1910, Charles Brigham. 35 Plymouth St., southwest corner of Old Meredith Rd. and Plymouth St. (NH 25B).

Erected in 1909–1910 from plans by Boston architect Charles Brigham (see BE15), the Nichols Memorial Library merits recognition as one of the finest small libraries in New Hampshire, and the most architecturally significant building in the town of Center Harbor. This distinctively Classical Revival edifice was given to the town by James E. Nichols, a prominent New York City merchant and former resident of Center Harbor, in memory of his parents. The contractor for the project was the T. J. Guay Construction Company of Laconia, New Hampshire. Virtually unaltered since its dedication, the one-story library is protected by a slate hipped roof on the main rectangular block, with two projections centered in its shorter axis: a shallow, pedimented entry facing Plymouth Street, topped by a secondary pitched roof, and a semicircular projection to the rear capped by another secondary pitched roof with half conical termination. Set on a high granite foundation topped by a molded limestone sill course, the walls are faced with thin, sand-colored bricks, with limestone quoins at the corners of the main block and flanking the rear projection. The cornice of the main block displays moldings and blocks. By far the most eye-catching feature of the building is the pedimented entryway in the symmetrical front facade, with its full classical stone entablature, Tuscan columns, banded piers, and a shallow recess containing double-leaf paneled doors with an architrave surround, bracketed entablature, side windows, and an ornate transom window. On each side of the projecting entry and on the front portions of the side walls are three-section windows elaborately decorated with Corinthian pilasters at the sides, engaged Corinthian colonettes between the windows, and full entablatures with projections over the pilasters and colonettes. The remainder of the fenestration is simple and unadorned. The library stands on a portion of the site of the first Senter House, one of the Lakes Region’s most important early resort hotels, built in 1825, later enlarged, and lost to fire in 1887.

Next door to the south of the library is a low, sprawling, steel-frame and brick structure accommodating the Center Harbor Fire Department and Town Office. Also situated on part of the first Senter House site, the building was constructed c. 1967–1968 from plans by William Mead of the WM Design Group, formerly based in Center Harbor and Bloomfield, Connecticut. Visually striking are the expansive, single-pitched roof covering the front section, the stark brick walls, the crisp lines of the wall intersections, and, the four large, multi-glass-paned lift doors accessing the fire equipment storage garage.


Writing Credits

Bryant F. Tolles, Jr.



  • 1909


What's Nearby


Bryant F. Tolles, Jr., "Nichols Memorial Library", [Center Harbor, New Hampshire], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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