Palmyra Community Library

posted by Caitlin Meives, Preservation Planner

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Photo courtesy Bero Architecture, PLLC

I recently had the pleasure of attending a meeting with other preservationists and planners from around the region at the Palmyra Community Library, a historic office building on Main Street in the village that recently completed a major rehabilitation. After the meeting, Library Director, Patricia Bayne, and President, Jennifer Voss, treated us to a grand tour.

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The Garlock Office Building during construction, c.1907. [Photo courtesy Palmyra Community Library]

The building was built in 1907 and originally served as the offices of the Garlock Packing Company. The Palmyra Community Library purchased the office building from another company in 2007.

Beginning in 2008, Library officials worked with the design team at Bero Architecture, PLLC to carry out this important project. The first floor space had been partitioned into multiple rooms. As part of the rehab, the first floor was returned to a single, large open space. Drop ceilings were removed to reveal the full height of the room.

At left, the first floor subdivided into multiple rooms. At right the first floor space after demolition of non-historic partitions. [Photos courtesy Bero Architecture, PLLC]

Historic details–wood floors, staircase, and moldings–were retained and touched up and new electric and heating/cooling systems were sensitively incorporated, making the current library space warm, inviting, and full of character. With a number of large window openings, the room also features loads of natural light (even on a rainy and dreary day when I visited).

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The second floor, which can be accessed via the main staircase (pictured above) or a newly installed elevator, was also rehabbed and converted to library offices and a children’s room. The third floor will be brought  back to life in the next and final stage of rehab–the Library is currently gathering ideas and feedback from the community for possible uses.

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Now the village of Palmyra boasts a beautiful and functional library that is within easy walking distance for village residents and provides a great space for the community to gather. Along with the other amazing commercial buildings in Palmyra, the rehabbed building enlivens the Main Street streetscape and draws visitors and residents alike to downtown. Another great example of preservation fostering community.

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