History of the Library

Ossipee Public Library

Main Street, Center Ossipee

Town of Ossipee, Owner

Ervin W. Hersey of Huddleston & Hersey, Architect

William M. Marsh, Builder 1938-39



The Ossipee Public Library was established on March 14, 1899. It was at first located in a Center Ossipee house, across the street from the site of the present building. The library was later moved to the Community House, also in Center Ossipee. But, at least one local resident, the well-known surveyor Frank S. Lord, felt that the library deserved its own building. Five days before his death in 1937, Lord deeded a fine lot in Center Ossipee to the Town of Ossipee "for a site for a public library, said library to be a suitable and substantial building of brick". Lord had stipulated in his deed that the library was to be erected at the expense of the Town. But, after his death, Lord's sisters, Addie L. McIndoe and Effie Lord, decided to build just such a library as a memorial to their brother. The brick Colonial Revival building was designed by Ervin W. Hersey of the University of New Hampshire, and of the Durham architectural firm of Huddleston and Hersey. Contractor William M. Marsh of Rochester began work on the building in July of 1938 and completed the job a year later in July of 1939. By then, the Frank S. Lord Memorial Library had already been accepted by a vote of the Town at the March meeting. And the public library had actually moved into its fine new quarters on May 27, 1939. (Almost no major changes have been made to the building since its construction.)



The Colonial Revival Ossipee Public Library is a one-story, gable-roofed building. Its brick walls are set on a high concrete foundation, and ornamented with brick quoins. The heavy wooden box cornice with its mouldings and moulded frieze is embellished with modillions only on the street facade and on the returns of the gable ends. The principal feature of the long three bay wide street (west) facade is the main entry. Reached by concrete steps with wrought metal side rails, the nine panel door is topped by an ornate transom window. The door is framed by rusticated piers, ornamented by fluted pilasters with acanthus leaf capitals, which support a pulvinated frieze and a broken segmental pediment containing a carved urn. Each side bay of the street facade contains a fifteen over fifteen sash main level window with concrete sill and lintel. The lintels of the main level street facade windows have slanting ends and "keystones". The corresponding lintels on the gable ends and the rear facade do have slanted ends, but they lack keystones. The two bay wide gable ends feature a wide massive brick chimney with corbeled cap which breaks through the cornices. The vestibule has a linoleum floor, plaster walls with baseboard, mould- ed door trim, and a high plaster ceiling.


The vestibule contains a stairway leading down to the basement hall which serves two restrooms, a storage room, furnace room, kitchen, and a former meeting room. Another, but shorter, vestibule stairway leads up to a paneled door with multipane window that opens into the library proper. The library's main level has a central room containing the librarian's desk, flanked on each side by a large reading room. All the rooms have carpeted floors, plaster walls with baseboards and high picture mouldings, moulded window and door trim, and high plaster ceilings. The central room is linked to the reading rooms by large openings in the side walls. The most prominent architectural feature of each reading room is a large fireplace which projects into the room. The fireplace has a brick hearth and shouldered architrave surround topped by a cornice with a heavy cyma reversa frieze featuring a central panel with carved swags. The plastered chimney breast is ornamented by a large overmantel panel with eared corners.



Interview Ruby Pearson. Annual Report, Town of Ossipee, for year ending January 31, 1939.

"Scrapbook" (manuscript, Ossipee Public Library, Ossipee).

Carroll County Independent July 8 & 22, August 5 & 12, September 30, October 14, December 30, 1938; January 20, March 24, May 5, July 7 & 21, 1939.