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Vermont Historical Society (Spaulding School)
Spaulding School was the showiest of a series of Barre public schools built with intense community pride. It was named for a long-time principal of the Barre Academy that occupied this site overlooking City Park. Lambert Packard of St. Johnsbury animated the essentially symmetrical facade with patterned brickwork, coordinating belt courses, and picturesque Richardsonian details—a corbeled gable, eyebrow dormer, and a gabled, arched pavilion bounded by asymmetrical round towers. The pavilion is consistent with Packard's other work in its references to H. H. Richardson. Packard combines a mirror image of the arched entrance pavilion of Billings Library in Burlington (CH19.2) with elements from Sever Hall at Harvard and an ogival tower cap motif that Richardson developed in projects of 1880–1881. Here the taller, ribbed version of the tower cap is particularly effective atop an arcaded belfry. Inside the school are a series of grand spaces with metal ceilings, chestnut wainscoting, and stained glass.
Expanded with a sympathetic auditorium and gymnasium wing in 1914, Spaulding School was abandoned for more contemporary and consolidated facilities in 1995, a fate that befell many older Vermont schools. The Vermont Historical Society acquired and restored the building as its new home, preserving Packard's finely detailed exterior and interior while incorporating state-of-the-art storage and climate control.
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