Providence Public Library

Providence Public Library

A place of history, elegance, purpose

Opened in March 1900 and now on the National Register of Historic Places, the Providence Public Library building is a prime example of turn-of-the-century American architecture. Its architects Stone, Carpenter & Willson created a library of elegant proportion and delightful detail. It traces its architectural pedigree to the Sansovino's library in Venice and the Libraire de Ste. Genevieve in Paris, and still further back, the Italian palaces of the Renaissance Period.

Classical proportioning...Renaissance artistry...Beaux-Arts attention to detail...

The building materials were selected for their beauty and durability; the effect was compelling. An impressive double stairway and a triple archway announce the entrance, where many a patron has paused to admire the elaborate decoration flanking the great front doors.

The Library in 1933.

The Library features a double stairway that leads to a triple archway entrance.

The intricate frieze that runs around the building features individually carved cherub heads -- each unique.

Intricate architecture represents the Gilded Age

The building is a richly articulated, two-story, granite-and-brick sheathed structure of Venetian Renaissance inspiration with Indiana limestone trimmings and a low, copper-clad hip roof. It is set back from Washington Street on a high terrace with a sweeping double stair and balustrade leading to a triple entrance centered on the 13-bay facade. The first story is rusticated and the tall, round-arch second story windows are framed with Corinthian pilasters.

Gallery Images

Opening Our Doors - A Library Built for the Ages

Library Tour

Providence Public Library...Building for the Ages - The story of our 113-year-old library's restoration. (video)

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