The Fletcher Free Library is the public library serving Burlington, Vermont. It is located at 235 College Street, in an architecturally distinguished Beaux-Arts building, constructed in 1902 with funding support from Andrew Carnegie. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1976.[1]

Carnegie Building of the Fletcher Free Library
Fletcher Free Library is located in Vermont
Fletcher Free Library
Fletcher Free Library is located in the United States
Fletcher Free Library
Location235 College St., Burlington, Vermont
Coordinates44°28′37″N 73°12′39″W / 44.47694°N 73.21083°W / 44.47694; -73.21083
Arealess than one acre
Built1902 (1902)
ArchitectWillcox, Walter R. B.
Architectural styleBeaux-Arts
Part ofMain Street–College Street Historic District (ID88001850)
NRHP reference No.76000138[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPAugust 18, 1976
Designated CPOctober 13, 1988

History

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The Fletcher Free Library was established in 1873, endowed by Mary Martha Fletcher, the daughter of a local businessman. It outgrew its initial building on Church Street by 1901. A new building was constructed in 1901–04 with funds provided by industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, making it the first of the four Carnegie libraries in the state of Vermont. It was designed in the Beaux-Arts style by Walter R. B. Willcox of Burlington, who won a competition to receive the commission.[2]

The building had major settling problems in 1973 where it had been built over a filled-in ravine, and the library's collection was moved elsewhere. The possible razing of the building was stopped by a citizens' committee, which successfully had it added to the National Register of Historic Places, and a grant allowed the stabilization and repair of the building. A new modern addition was completed in 1981.[2][3]

The largest public library in Vermont, the Fletcher Free Library had a budget of over $3 million in 2022. It circulated more books, had more visitors, and had more computers, than any other library in the state.[4] In addition to its primary services as Burlington's public library, it is also a community center, a cultural resource for newly arrived immigrants to the Burlington area, and the city's only free public access computer center.

Architecture

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The library is located just east of downtown Burlington, at the southeast corner of College Street and South Winooski Avenue. The Carnegie building is a tall single-story structure, built of brick with terra cotta trim and resting on a granite foundation. Its central bay projects, providing the building's original entrance beneath a gabled roof, while a larger hip-roof section projects to the rear. It has rusticated brick corner pilasters and an elaborately detailed Corinthian cornice.[5] To the left, the modern three-story addition is attached to the rear left of the original building, and now provides the main entrance via a walkway between the two sections.

See also

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References

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  1. ^ a b "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. July 9, 2010.
  2. ^ a b "Fletcher Free Library Designation Report" Archived October 29, 2013, at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "About" Archived 2013-10-29 at the Wayback Machine on the library website
  4. ^ Libraries on the rise. Burlington Free Press. July 25, 2008.
  5. ^ John R. Axtell (1976). "NRHP nomination for Fletcher Free Library". National Park Service. Retrieved October 1, 2016. with photos from 1976
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