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Osterhout Free Library

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First Presbyterian Church
1848, James Renwick. 71 S. Franklin St.

Renwick sent his designs for Wilkes-Barre's First Presbyterian Church from New York City by canal boat, an insight into how the city received its architectural influences—and at what speed. The Gothic Revival hallchurch, with three aisles of equal height, was handsomely adapted to serve as a library, after the completion of the current church in 1890 in the same block. The lovely Tudor-style reading room and stack wing were added in 1907 by Welsh, Sturdevant and Poggi, while Eyerman Csala Hapeman added a sympathetically contextual wing in 1983. The Osterhout shares a side lawn with the Westmoreland Club at 59 South Franklin Street (1897, E.G.W. Dietrich), an institution synonymous with the region's high society. Dietrich designed this suave gray brick Georgian Revival, its swelling bays belted by Ionic pilasters, as a private residence. In 1920, Clark Wright Evans, who had worked in New York before relocating to Wilkes-Barre, supervised its transformation into a new home for the elite city club. The design reflects the turn toward more accurate emulations of early American design.

Writing Credits

George E. Thomas
Updated By: 
Catherine Boland Erkkila (2022)



  • 1848


What's Nearby


George E. Thomas, "Osterhout Free Library", [Wilkes-Barre, 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, 469-469.

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