Clapp Memorial Library was founded in 1883 by the bequest of John Francis Clapp, a successful Belchertown native. Construction of the massive brownstone structure was completed in 1887 and the doors were opened in a dedication ceremony on September of that year. Very little has changed on this structure since its construction. The building displays a grand Richardson Romanesque stone exterior, featuring arched windows and entries, carved decorative roof finials and reliefs, a central tower and two magnificent stained glass memorial windows that grace the north and south walls of the structure. The interior features soaring cathedral-like ceilings, extensive ornate woodwork, built-in shelving and wood frame windows. Nearly all of the original fabric remains intact, having only undergone minor modifications over the years to add modern amenities such as electrical, communications and safety systems.
The Clapp Memorial Library Board of Trustees selected Lyn Smith to perform a conditions assessment and capital needs analysis in order to understand the current condition of the structure and its systems and evaluate the financial outlay needed to make necessary repairs to preserve the structure for continued use. The assessment also reviewed accessibility accommodation and code compliance issues throughout the building and grounds.
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