This library demonstrates that in Vermont small scale does not rule out quality in design. One of the first generation of public libraries in the state, it was catalyzed by 1894 legislation in Vermont that offered assistance for the development of town collections. It was the gift of Ira Anson Abbott, of an old Pomfret family, who had become associate justice of the Supreme Court in New Mexico Territory. He commissioned Fitchburg, Massachusetts, architect Francis, who had designed a Richardsonian library for Newbury (1896; 4886 Main Street) and a Colonial Revival one in Randolph (1903; 67 N. Main Street), to provide a library of substance. As built by Joseph Zwicker, the simple rectangular building has a massive fieldstone base that rises to the sills of the reading room windows with boldly rusticated voussoirs in flat arches over the basement windows. Above this the walls are red brick, pierced by a regular rank of large windows and carrying a heavy hipped roof of red slate with bold terra-cotta cresting, which slightly flares over deep eaves and is pinned down by a massive battered central chimney. The stone, the eaves, and hipped dormers evoke bungalow design, while a porch on short polished Doric columns, a large keystoned semicircular fanlight, and Union Jack muntin work in the upper sash of the windows suggest Colonial Revival as well. Terrazzo floors and metal stacks reflect contemporary institutional design throughout interiors of birch woodwork and stenciled borders. The result is a surprisingly urban building for a decidedly rural place.
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Abbott Memorial Library
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