Sunday, May 15, 2011

Berkshire Athenaeum, Pittsfield's (MA) Public Library

The Berkshire Athenaeum is the public library for Pittsfield, MA, and this year it is celebrating its 140th anniversary.  The Athenaeum was founded on March 24, 1871, and it moved into the building shown in the postcard above in 1876. The Athenaeum was preceded in Pittsfield by subscription/social libraries dating as early as 1796. There is a nice history of the Athenaeum on its website along with more postcard views of its first building. Funds for the construction of that building were donated by railroad magnet Thomas Allen, a native of Pittsfield.  It was designed by New York architect William Appleton Potter and constructed of dark blue limestone, red freestone, and red granite.  The Athenaeum moved into its current building in 1975. The original building now houses the Berkshire County Registry of Deeds.

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