Built with a legacy of 1893 from native son John L. Woods, this library makes a significant architectural and urban contribution to Bradford's business district. It occupies a triangular hillside site, presenting a substantial two-and-a-half-story face on one side and a one-and-half-story entrance facade toward S. Main Street. A polygonal reading room faces the angled intersection in between. Three years earlier, St. Johnsbury architect Packard had built the Romanesque Revival Bank Block, nearby on Main Street. For the library he repeated the style but drew more literally on the work of H. H. Richardson. The massing is a small, reversed version of Richardson's Billings Library (CH19.2) at the University of Vermont; the reading room dormers recall the Ames Wholesale Store in Boston; the triplet of arched windows over the entrance are borrowed from the Crane Library in Quincy, Massachusetts; and the textured string-courses that enliven and organize the massive surfaces and frame the arches are derived from such a building as Sever Hall at Harvard. The rock-faced stone detailing changes from gray granite at basement level to brownstone, interspersed with foliated terra-cotta for friezes, plaques, and finials above. Terra-cotta roundels with portraits of Benjamin Franklin, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Samuel F. B. Morse, and William Shakespeare adorn the facade. The richness continues in the interior with a beamed polygonal reading room focused on a grand redstone fireplace, a wooden-galleried stack area served by circular staircases, fine paneling, and stained glass. The result is an impressive little building with an impact in the village that belies its modest size.
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