by Scottie Kapel, Head Editor, INALJ Oregon
A Trip to the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum
I recently returned from a trip to Vermont with a new love for billboard-free interstates, Subaru Outbacks, and cheese (admittedly, that last one is not a newfound love). Although each day of the trip was great, my favorite afternoon was spent visiting the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, which has now made its way to the top of my list of favorite libraries. The St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, located in St. Johnsbury in Vermont’s Northeast Kingdom, houses the town’s library, archive s, and a beautiful collection of fine art.
Built in 1871 and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1996, walking into the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum is like walking into the past, which isn’t in itself especially remarkable, but if, like me, the libraries in your town have more of an “inner” beauty hiding behind very humble facades, then the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum and the simple fact that residents of the town can visit this incredible building free of charge every day will astound you.
With balconies, spiral staircases, and incredible woodwork, the Athenaeum looks more like your rich great-aunt’s mansion than it does a modern library. But appearances can be deceiving, and the Athenaeum is as much a home to contemporary works as it is to the classics.
If you ever have the opportunity, I can’t recommend highly enough a visit to the St. Johnsbury Athenaeum, and if you still need convincing, it’s only about an hour away from the Ben & Jerry’s factory.