619 Congress Street
Romanesque Revival, 1888
The Baxter Library Building, originally the Portland Public Library was a gift to the City from Philanthropist James Baxter. The fortune amassed through his Portland Packing Company enabled Baxter to devote much of his life to varied cultural interests and the betterment of Portland. (Baxter served six terms as Mayor of Portland and was largely responsible for the expansion of the city’s park system.) Francis H. Fassett designed the library in the Romanesque Revival style, much in the manner of Henry Hobson Richardson,architect of Boston’s Trinity Church. The massive arches, roughly textured walls, and variety of masonry materials are all features of this style, sometimes referred to as “Richardsonian Romanesque.” The Facade and interior of Fassett’s library clearly suggest the appearance and spatial arrangement of a Romanesque church.