The Richmond Public Library’s Main Branch is a special project—one that the firm designed originally and then remixed at a much later date. At the height of the Gilded Age, James and Sallie Dooley were central figures in Richmond—actively participating in the expansion of railways, land development, and other business ventures in the South. Upon her death, Sallie earmarked $500,000 to build a city library in memory of her husband, which the firm designed in 1928 and was opened to the public in 1930. Aptly named the Dooley Library, the Art Deco building was made of George Washington stone – quarried in Aquia Creek – with interior walls of Italian marble, and housed some 70,000 volumes.
Baskervill returned in 1972 with an expansion that tripled the library’s size and revised the exterior with Kasota stone. The new building encompassed 142,000 square feet, housing 650,000 volumes, and included meeting spaces and a 250-seat auditorium. The original Dooley Library was entirely preserved inside the new structure and renamed the Dooley Wing. The library remains in active use today as the administrative center of the City’s library system and is the largest of the City’s nine locations.Categories: