New England has so many good libraries and some, perhaps including Camden's and Concord's, rise to the top. One of the great libraries of New England is Branford, Connecticut's James Blackstone Memorial Library.
In the medium sized coastal town of Branford, it is an architectural outlier. The town has a long history, originally settled in 1638 (then called Totoket) as part of New Haven. It has gone through several transformations over almost four hundred years, including into a resort destination in the 1800s which ended around the time of the 1938 hurricane. Today it is known not only for its unique waterfront communities like Stony Creek, Pine Orchard, and Pawson Park, but unfortunately for the sheer number of condominiums. But in the middle of it all stands the grand James Blackstone Memorial Library.
I was taken there countless times as a child, but hadn't been back for almost twenty years. It was a different experience seeing it through my adult eyes - smaller, inevitably, but surprisingly more impressive.
|All of the marble, white for the outside and pink for the inside, came from Tennessee.|
|I was trying out two new items that I was recently sent.|
|All libraries provide some of our best public spaces. I have stopped in many across New England for a wifi fix.|
|The murals were painted by Oliver Dennett Grover....|
|...as were the medallion portraits of famous authors Bryant, Emerson, Hawthorne, Longfellow, Whittier, Holmes, Lowell and Stowe.|
|Perhaps a space should have been reserved for Larry and Sergey.|
|I am fairly certain that I performed on this stage in one of my far too many ballet recitals. (Pre-mauve-carpet.) And friends would go to hear Yale's Whiffenpoofs perform, in part due to the superb acoustics.|
|The floor tiles were designed in Paris specifically for the library.|
|Designed by Chicago architect Solon Spencer Beman and completed in 1896, the library was paid for by Timothy Blackstone in honor of his father James who grew up in Branford, and was a Captain in the Connecticut Militia.|
|The two bronze doors at the entrance were designed by William Fitzroy Smith and weigh 2.000 pounds each.|
|One item I was sent is this newly designed Austin Jeffers Polished Leather and Waxed Canvas tote which was hand made several towns over in Essex, CT. Now I don't have to worry about the wax from my jackets rubbing off on my pocketbook.|
|I was also sent these Bass Weejuns in red for Valentine's Day.|
|The Branford Green|
|The Town Hall|
|Congregational Church Steeple|
|...And My Other Destination....|
My father took these back in the early 1960s: