Architecture

Our building, which opened for the first time on January 1, 1927, owes its design to the inspiration from Thomas Jefferson's Monticello and the Faneuil Hall in Boston.  Architect: A.L. Pillsbury of Bloomington; Contractor: F.C. Swartz of Villa Grove; Stone Carver: Joseph Petarde of Peoria.

Joseph Petarde (Petardi) carved the stone accents on the library.  Petarde, born in Rome, Italy in 1866, lived in Peoria and Bloomington during his adult life, worked for Alexander King and Company Stoneyard in Galesburg, and carved many stone sculptures and accents in the area.  Supposedly having carved statues of saints for some churches in Paris,  Petarde also contributed to the art of many buildings in the area including: the Illinois Wesleyan School of Music, the Consistory in Bloomington, the McBarnes Memorial Building in Bloomington, The gymnasium in Illinois State University, and St. Peter's Church in Peoria.  Petarde also sculpted two angels in St. Anthony's Church in Mexico City as well as unidentified work in Montreal, New York, and San Francisco.


The front entrance opens into the rotunda, located in the center of the building.  Once inside, a door to the right (now behind the check-out desk) would lead into the church.  The doorway to the left leads into the main library reading room, and the door straight ahead leads to our genealogy materials and paperbacks.  Seemingly looking down on you the entire time though, are portraits of Mr. and Mrs. Crumbaugh, stoically placed above south doorway.  Walk across the marble floor to the middle of the rotunda and look up, and, if you don't get dizzy, you will see the skylights where sunlight used to shine though the cupola (no longer there) and into the library.

West Arch - Checkout Table East Arch - Entrance into Reading Room
North Arch - Front Entrance South Arch - Entrance into Genealogy and Paperbacks

The children who come into the library especially enjoy looking up into our high ceiling.

Along the other four sides of our octagonal rotunda are scalloped shells representing travel and exploration ~ symbolism supposedly dating back to the those who made pilgrimages to the holy land during the middle ages and wore scalloped shells in their hats as a symbol of their journey.


Northwest Side - Display Case Southwest Side - Bookcase
Southwest Side - Card Catalog
Northeast Side - Plaque

Above the entrance into the reading room is a fresco

of five Greek mythological muses of art, literature, and science.

A hanging light in the reading room.
Comments