Citizens Library, Washington, PA

Today’s post features the Citizens Library in Washington, Pennsylvania.

Back in June, I drove from Connecticut to Chicago to visit my mom. Along the way, I incorporated a couple literary stops. I wrote an overview post about the trip that you can read here: What I did on my summer vacation.

This week I’m sharing photos of the libraries I checked out along the way. Unfortunately, the libraries in Washington, Pennsylvania were all closed due to either my evening arrival time or the pandemic.

Citizens Library was established in 1870 by Dr. Francis J. LeMoyne. The library had been located in the Town Hall for the first part of its life. It charged a fee in those early days and became a free library in 1904.

Citizens Library Washington, PA

In 1965 the library built it’s own home in the colonial revival style.

The cost of construction was $973,000 (source). This would be over 8 million in 2021 dollars.

As you can see in this view down the street, the library’s architecture is in harmony with the neighborhood. The church across the street was built in the early 19th century.

Front entrance. See that circle on the step to the right of the closest railing? I wonder what was originally bolted onto the step. There is a twin circle on the other side. A statue? A planter?

LIBRARY. Welcome to the temple of knowledge.

Window and roof line detail. Also notice the quoins (the brick stripes). These didn’t stand out to me when I was there, but they’re obvious now and prominent on all of the building’s corners.

I first learned about quoins from exploring the Jones Library in Amherst, MA and then the Phoebe Griffin Noyes Library in Old Lyme, CT. On those two libraries the quoins seemed more structural. Here they might be more decorative, but I’m no architect.

I arrived in the early evening and found ample parking. Here’s a view of the back of the library, which also has a formal entrance and ramp.

As it should be. 🤓

Walking along the side of the library from the parking lot toward the front. If you keep walking past the Citizens Library sign and cross the street, you’re on the campus of Washington and Jefferson College.

A photo looking toward the front of Citizens Library from Washington and Jefferson’s lawn.

I enjoyed looking at the architecture of this library and hope you do as well. Tomorrow I’ll share some photos of a couple other libraries just a stone’s throw from this one.

Citizen Library
55 S. College Street
Washington, PA


  1. How lovely – I do always like to see a library and recall taking loads of photos of a quite ordinary one somewhere in Germany. When I worked at a library supplier I was always particularly taken when I spotted one of our clients!

  2. The reserved library parking is the bomb! When I was a graduate student I told Michal that there should be special Ph.D. plates that allowed you to park in front of any library at any time, just in case there was a medieval emergency that required my attention. I still think this is a good idea!

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