Oliver Ames moved from Bridgewater MA to North Easton in 1803 to begin the manufacture of shovels. Ames prospered supplying the railroad companies and the Union Army in the Civil war. On his death Ames son left $50,000 in trust for a library. The will specified that it was to be a private institution, not owned by the town.
Richardson's design for the Ames library is basically rectangular in plan. The broad front gable is marked by the arched entry to the outside porch on the first floor with a row of five arched windows separated by pairs of short columns supporting the arches on the second. The Stack wing windows form a horizontal band , each group of three separated by four short columns. The roof is red-orange tile over a wood barrel-vaulted stack wing ceiling. The fireplace in the reading room is the work of Stanford White.
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