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Roanoke City Public Library

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1952, Frantz and Addkison; 1983 addition, Frantz and Chappelear. 706 Jefferson St. SE
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)
  • (HABS; Photograph by Tim Buchman)
  • (Photograph by Mark Mones)

The crisp horizontal lines of the earlier (left) section of the two-story library trimmed in brick and limestone show an earlier phase of the International Style, more akin to 1930s modernism. Entrance is through a projecting one-story portico supported by five simple posts. This squared and stripped portico, although more attenuated and open than Raymond Loewy's at the N&W Passenger Station (RK28), nevertheless bears a stylistic relationship to it. Under the portico, large windows light the entrance area, and on the second story, ribbon windows are placed high to leave interior wall space below for book shelves. When the overcrowded library was scheduled to move from downtown in the late 1970s, a wellspring of public opinion led instead to the construction of the harmonious addition on the right that complements the older building. This curved addition echoes its hillside site, and the mature elm trees in front of the building are echoes of the long-demolished Elmwood house that once crested the hill.

Writing Credits

Anne Carter Lee


What's Nearby


Anne Carter Lee, "Roanoke City Public Library", [Roanoke, Virginia], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

Print Source

Cover: Buildings of Virginia vol 2

Buildings of Virginia: Valley, Piedmont, Southside, and Southwest, Anne Carter Lee and contributors. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2015, 411-411.

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