The Old Soldiers’ Home Library Building

I recently was lucky enough to find two old photographs of the library building at the Soldiers’ Home. The library building was designed by Smithmeyer and Pelz in 1877 and razed in 1910, 33 years later.

The first photo shows the library in the background with the Sherman building in the foreground. As the Sherman building was built in 1889, and as Stanley Hall (built in 1897) isn’t in the photo, it likely dates to the early 1890s.

Library 1880s(Cabinet Card of Sherman Hall and the Soldiers’ Home library ca. 1890s).

The second photo was taken ca. 1905, again showing the library with Stanley Hall in the back ground.

Library 1905(A magic lantern slide of the library and Stanley Hall ca. 1905).

The library was originally designed for use as an officers billiard room and bowling alley, but its purpose was altered in the midst of construction from that of a clubhouse to a library for enlisted men. Due to its enormous building expense, the elaborate porch was not added until five years after the main structure was finished.

The Soldiers’ Home governor and other members of the board were never overly enthusiastic about the building, and shortly after it was completed passed a rule that future Soldiers’ Home buildings would be designed by military architects.

By 1910, the library was overflowing with 8,000 books and the commissioners decided to build Grant Hall — a much-needed new dormitory — on the site of the library.

The map below shows the grounds of the Soldiers’ Home in 1891, with the site of the library building noted.

1891 Soldiers' Home map with library identified

Explore posts in the same categories: Architecture, Armed Forces Retirement Home, History

Tags: , , ,

You can comment below, or link to this permanent URL from your own site.

One Comment on “The Old Soldiers’ Home Library Building”

  1. Angry Parakeet Says:

    What a loss.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s


%d bloggers like this: