Rice Memorial Library, Kittery, ME: HABS/HAER photography

In early 2021 I was invited to conduct the HABS/HAER photography of the delightful and charming Rice Memorial Library. Located in the lovely community of Kittery, in southern Maine near the New Hampshire border, the library was designed by Shephard Woodcock, a noted architect based in Boston, MA, and was completed in 1888.

The library was funded largely through the bequest of Arabella Rice, the only surviving daughter of a wealthy ship captain from nearby Portsmouth, NH, who grew up in Kittery. Arabella died in 1872, leaving $30,000 to the Town of Kittery for “educational purposes.” Because of a clause in the will that no funds for a building could be spent for another ten years, the Town of Kittery began work to purchase the land and hire an architect in the mid-1880s. A memorial plaque to Arabella’s memory is located just inside the front door, and her initials can be seen in the left spandrels of the entrance surround.

The Town of Kittery proposed a large addition to the side of the building in 2020. Because the library had been listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979, the Maine State Historic Preservation Office determined that the addition constitute an adverse effect under Section 106 of the National Historic Preservation Act. As mitigation, the Town was required to document the building for the Maine Historic Building Record, the state-level equivalent of HABS/HAER. The Town contracted for the historic narrative separately, and I was asked to prepare the photographic package.