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Bridgham Memorial Library

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1905, Hilton and Jackson. 1392 Pawtucket Ave. (corner of Miller St.)

From the earlier generation of this firm's village libraries in the Neo-Colonial style (see also those in Pascoag and Harrisville, under Burrillville), this tiny box of books actually contains the locked box which was the library when the Ladies Reading Society, later the Female Library Association, founded it in 1819. Subsequently, for years Dr. Samuel W. Bridgham maintained and expanded the library in a semipublic capacity from the wing of his nearby house at 120 Moora Street. Here we see the typical early-twentieth-century library, which derives mostly from prototypes popularized by Carnegie benefactions: a pedimented and columned central entrance porch (here nicely integrated with an oculus window) with inside vestibule; then the reading room at right angles to the axis of entrance, a fireplace at one end, and circulation desk in the center; finally, stacks behind. A diminutive monumentality results, providing dignity but also cozy scale. Now stuffed well beyond its capacity, like all such libraries it poses the dilemma of how to enlarge it while retaining its village character.

Writing Credits

Author: 
William H. Jordy et al.
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Citation

William H. Jordy et al., "Bridgham Memorial Library", [East Providence, Rhode Island], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—, http://sah-archipedia.org/buildings/RI-01-EP12.

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