I just got a great new vintage postcard to share for the Then and Now series. The Patten Free Library in Bath, Maine struck me as having a beautiful and unusual design, sort of reminiscent of a castle.
Bath is a small city situated on the gorgeous Maine coast. I haven’t had the chance to visit, but I’ve known about it since high school and have seen pictures since my friend
got sent went to a boarding school there.
And now, in 2011
It was surprisingly challenging to find current pictures of this library, so sorry about the smaller image sizes. The library’s website seems to be down, at least for now, but fortunately, I found plenty of info about the library on other sites.
Established in 1847, Bath’s original library was held in rented and donated spaces until a man named Galen C. Moses donated $10,000 ($256,000 in today’s money) to build a library. It was designed by George Harding, an architect who created several buildings now on the National Register of Historic Places. Harding used a Richardsonian Romanesque style, popular in the era. The Patten Free Library was opened to the public in January 1891. Children’s services were first offered in 1911 in the second floor tower room.
Additions were made in 1961 and 1998, which you can see in the “now” images to the left of the original tower building. The first addition added a children’s room, lobby, reference room, and auditorium. The 1998 addition expanded the children’s and young adult rooms, and added a Sagdahoc History and Genealogy room. At the same time, the original building was restored.
Today, it has a collection of over 55,000 items and a circulation of over 156,000 items, as well as 24 staff members. Their Facebook page seems to be pretty active, with posts about events and programs.
Official Patten Free Library website (cached version)