At ‘This Place in History’, we’re in Newport with Executive Director of the Vermont Historical Society Steve Perkins.
“This is the Goodrich Memorial Library and it has a really cool little collection hidden away in it. I thought we’d go inside and talk with Librarian Katherine Zenel-Langlands and check it out,” introduced Perkins.
“It was actually opened in 1899. We broke ground in 1898. It was built with the funds from the estate of Converse Goodrich. He passed away before the building was finished, but it was built actually as a library. He was always very philanthropic. He wanted this to be a city center. It was always his life dream to have this library here in Newport,” explained Zenel-Langlands.
“It definitely feels like it. This is a gorgeous building and it’s not just what we think of as a traditional library. It’s full of art and it’s almost like a little museum for Newport,” added Perkins. “I want to talk about this cool little book on the wall behind us. What’s the story of that book?”
“That book is the first book that the library had ever had. When we opened, in the will of Converse Goodrich, we were supposed to finish the building and then furnish it with books. That’s what came first. Books before furnishings and everything else. And so that was one of the first books bought with his estate,” answered Zenel-Langlands.
“This is a bas-relief, donated in 1925 by the Newport Women’s Club, which no longer exists, unfortunately. It was here during the first librarian’s term.”
“I am fascinated by this huge case off to our left. Just full of animals?” inquired Perkins.
“Full of animals. The entire collection used to belong to a local lawyer. He donated it in the 1920s, which means every single animal in there is over 100 years old. We have a great American Eagle and we also have an alligator,” said Zenel-Langlands. “It’s animals from all over the place. We have a lot of Vermont birds and a lot of other Vermont animals. There’s a loon in there as well, which is very nice.”
“What other type of activities happen here?” asked Perkins.
“The next one coming up is the Mother’s Day Tea. It’s an annual event that we have. We have a couple of older women in the area that call it the event of the season. We also do a Harvest Fest with music. We also do the same event again in February for Valentine’s Day. We also host the Vermont Humanities First Wednesday program here, which is lovely and happens from October through May,” answered Zenel-Langlands.
“There’s a great Assembly Hall. The acoustics in there are wonderful. If you look at the ceiling, it’s gorgeous, all wooden.”
“If you’re looking to learn all about Newport and you’re visiting town, you need to come here. What are the hours and how do people visit?” asked Perkins.
“Walk in the door, of course. Our hours are 10 AM to 6 PM Monday through Friday and 10 AM to 3 PM on Saturdays,” concluded Zenel-Langlands.
At ‘This Place in History’!
For more from our series, click here.
To view a map of Vermont’s roadside historical markers, click here.