Thomas Crane Public Library

Coordinates: 42°15′6″N 71°0′4″W / 42.25167°N 71.00111°W / 42.25167; -71.00111
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Thomas Crane Public Library
Thomas Crane Public Library, Quincy, Massachusetts (Front view).JPG
The original building (1882), front view, architect H. H. Richardson
Thomas Crane Public Library is located in Massachusetts
Thomas Crane Public Library
Thomas Crane Public Library is located in the United States
Thomas Crane Public Library
LocationQuincy, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°15′6″N 71°0′4″W / 42.25167°N 71.00111°W / 42.25167; -71.00111
ArchitectHenry Hobson Richardson
Architectural styleRichardsonian Romanesque
NRHP reference No.72000143[1]
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 18, 1972
Designated NHLDecember 23, 1987
Wollaston Branch, Thomas Crane Public Library
Wollaston Branch Thomas Crane Public Library Quincy MA.jpg
The Wollaston Branch
Location41 Beale St., Quincy, Massachusetts
Coordinates42°16′0.44″N 71°1′4.48″W / 42.2667889°N 71.0179111°W / 42.2667889; -71.0179111
Area0.2 acres (0.081 ha)
ArchitectWilliam Chapman
Architectural styleClassical Revival
NRHP reference No.89001316[2]
Added to NRHPSeptember 20, 1989

The Thomas Crane Public Library (TCPL) is a city library in Quincy, Massachusetts. It is noted for its architecture. It was funded by the Crane family as a memorial to Thomas Crane, a wealthy stone contractor who got his start in the Quincy quarries.[3] The Thomas Crane Library has the second largest municipal collection in Massachusetts after the Boston Public Library.


The Thomas Crane Public Library was built in four stages: the original building (1882) by architect H. H. Richardson; an additional ell with stack space and stained glass (1908) by William Martin Aiken in Richardson's style; a major expansion (1939) by architects Paul A. and Carroll Coletti, with stone carvings by sculptor Joseph Coletti of Quincy; and a recent addition (2001) by Boston architects Childs, Bertman, and Tseckares, which doubled the size of the library. H. H. Richardson considered this library among his most successful civic buildings, and Harper's Weekly called it "the best village library in the United States". The library was ranked 43rd in a national poll conducted in 2007 by the American Institute of Architects of the favorite buildings in the nation.

In addition to its architecture, the original building contains a 30 × 10 inch stained-glass window by noted American artist John LaFarge in memory of Thomas Crane, entitled the Old Philosopher. To the left of the elaborate carved fireplace is a second LaFarge window, "Angel at the Tomb", given in memory of Crane's son Benjamin Franklin Crane. The library's grounds were designed by landscaper Frederick Law Olmsted.

The main library was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1987, recognizing it as one of Richardson's finest library buildings.[4]


By 1910 there were two "reading rooms," one in the Atlantic neighborhood on Atlantic Street and one in West Quincy. By the 1920s the system had expanded to nine branches in all, adding ones near the Parker Elementary School and the Furnace Brook Parkway, and ones in the Squantum, South Quincy, Wollaston and Quincy Point neighborhoods. Municipal budget cutbacks in 1981 slashed the number to just three besides the main building: the Wollaston branch (1922), which is listed separately on the National Register of Historic Places, the North Quincy branch (1963) on Hancock Street near North Quincy High School, and the Adams Shore branch (1970) on Sea Street in Hough's Neck.


The library often hosts concerts, lectures and art exhibitions.[5][6] There are also private rooms available for use free of charge to the public or to small community organizations.[7] Also, the library hosts Quincy's local public-access television cable TV channel, QATV.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. January 23, 2007.
  2. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. March 13, 2009.
  3. ^ Paula D. Watson. Carnegie Ladies, Lady Carnegies: Women and the Building of Libraries. Libraries & Culture, Vol. 31, No. 1, Reading & Libraries I (Winter, 1996)
  4. ^ "NHL nomination for Thomas Crane Public Library". National Park Service. Retrieved 2015-02-22.
  5. ^ "Newsletter Archive". Thomas Crane Library. Archived from the original on December 11, 2009. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  6. ^ "Exhibits & Displays". Thomas Crane Library. Archived from the original on July 20, 2011. Retrieved August 3, 2022.
  7. ^ "Meeting & Study Rooms". Thomas Crane Public Library. Retrieved August 3, 2022.

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