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West Chester Library

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1889, T. Roney Williamson. 415 N. Church St.
  • (© George E. Thomas)

Williamson pulled out all the stops to convey the cultural importance of his hometown library. It is a densely ornamented and richly textured essay in brick, shingle, and pressed copper that is not unlike contemporary English Aesthetic movement designs such as C. H. Townsend's Bishopsgate Institute in London (1894). Like Frank Furness's library at the University of Pennsylvania ( PH147.3), whose windows were ornamented with quotations from Shakespeare, here are quotations from Bayard Taylor, West Chester's bard of the previous generation. Williamson's similarly richly encrusted Dimmick Memorial Library in Mauch Chunk ( CA6) was begun in the same year.

After N. High Street, Church Street is the city's most important north–south street. To the north, where Virginia Street intersects, are two remarkable houses: that at the southwest corner is probably by Frank Furness, c. 1880; and at the northeast corner a competing Queen Anne house that has been adapted as a bed-and-breakfast is possibly an early work by Williamson.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "West Chester Library", [West Chester, Pennsylvania], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of PA vol 2

Buildings of Pennsylvania: Philadelphia and Eastern Pennsylvania, George E. Thomas, with Patricia Likos Ricci, Richard J. Webster, Lawrence M. Newman, Robert Janosov, and Bruce Thomas. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2012, 245-246.

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