Photo credit: MHT File Photo , Undated Photo

Property Name: Old Washington County Library
Date Listed: 10/2/1978
Inventory No.: WA-HAG-094
Location: 21, Summit Avenue, Hagerstown, Washington County

Description: This building is a 1900-1901 Neo-Georgian stone masonry structure of monumental proportions. Actually two stories high, the building appears to be one huge story from the façade or east elevation. This façade has three bays, a single Renaissance-influenced window on each side of a large recessed entranceway with two Roman Ionic columns below a large semicircular pediment. The front rests on a high foundation with a concave water table. The entranceway projects forward in two parts with a series of steps and a landing leading to the doorway. The first floor is terminated by a broad entablature surmounted by a high closed balustrade, actually the second story. The single façade windows have heavy, pedimented entablatures supported by large scroll brackets and double-hung, wooden sash with 9/9 lights. The doorway has double doors with large lights, a rectangular transom, and wide architrave trim. Inscribed in the entablature over the entranceway is the date "A.D. 1900" and the name of the current owner, Garland E. Groh Foundation, Inc. The closed balustrade is as high as the semicircular pediment and has a single panel of criss-cross pattern above the single windows. The north and south elevations have double-hung wooden sash windows on the first and second floors. Those of the first floor have 9/9 lights and flat arches with raised keystones. The second story windows have 6/6 lights and are grouped in two sets of two on each side. A low, two-story wing, probably later in date, projects from the west side. The interior has Renaissance decoration of a grand scale on the first floor. Photographs of the other rooms indicate that they are plain with simple architrave trim. An ornate metal gate with an ornate lanterned arch resting on two square masonry posts stands to the north of the building with the south post attached to the structure.

Significance: This Neo-Georgian masonry structure was designed by the noted late 19th century American architect Bruce Price (1845-1903). Erected between 1900 and 1901 for the Washington County Free Library, the building is two stories high, of monumental proportions. A good example of its style, the structure remains largely unaltered with quality detailing. It was used by the library until 1965 when it moved to its present location on South Potomac Street. The façade or east elevation is one of the most sophisticated structures in the central area of Hagerstown. Original in condition, the front is particularly significant for the symmetrical arrangement of and the interplay of shapes and lines formed by the Renaissance windows, with pediments, entablatures, and Roman Ionic columns in antis supporting a large semicircular pediment above the entranceway. The façade presents an interesting contrast to the 1872-1874 Second Empire style courthouse diagonally across the street.




close