What I should be doing is writing a feature article for the Sun Journal scheduled to run in the “b Section” next Sunday, March 27. It’s a big piece about the upcoming Maine Music Society performance of Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis” on April 3 at the Basilica in Lewiston. I admit I have been completely swept up in my research for the article.
According to Maine Music Society Chorale member and Lewiston native Claude Bergeron “this concert…is an opportunity to witness classical music on a huge scale in a majestic venue. If you have not been to a classical performance before, this is the one to attend.”
I agree wholeheartedly. Please consider attending this amazing concert to support the arts in our community.
I was having some performance anxiety about finishing my feature, so I decided to do a little writer’s warm up and tell you about another Carnegie library, this one miles and miles away from L/A in Fort Fairfield.
What’s amazing about heading into Aroostook County is how the cookie-cutter things in the daily travels here (Dollar General, MacDonald’s, and Rite Aid) fade away as you round a certain corner of Maine. You know, the one right after Mount Katahdin appears magnificently into view. There is less of everything; less cars, people…everything. Gradually, the terrestrial radio stations become French-speaking and you pass an Amish buggy.
It’s amazing, just like the lunch Handy and I had at Canterbury Royale, a few miles past the center of Fort Fairfield. Canterbury Royale is a private dining experience in a small, intimate space. The food, like Beethoven’s “Missa Solemnis”, is magnificent in scale, full of tiny details of perfection and many humble surprises. But because writing about food would cause me to start snacking instead of writing, I promise I will write about Scotch eggs, chicken pot pie, and crème brulee after my writing deadlines pass.
The Fort Fairfield library, built in 1912 from a $10,000 Carnegie grant, sits on a slight hill heading into downtown. It was designed in the Classical Revival style by architect Harry S. Coombs, who also designed the Lewiston Public Library.
The library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1989 and a new wing was added in the rear of the library in 1993.
The Fort Fairfield library does have its original circulation desk.
As we found as we visited more Carnegies, not all still have this furniture component. Renovations and changes have resulted in a few of the desks disappearing off the face of the earth, fated to end up someday in an episode of “Pickers.”
The afternoon light coming into the library was warm and inviting and we wished we could have stayed longer but we wanted to investigate this piece of real estate a few blocks from the library.
We walked all around the building, peeked into windows, and daydreamed about the possibilities of renovation. The old Fort Fairfield National Bank has good bones and the price is right.
Our pockets being just shy of the cash needed for such a far-away investment, we got back in the Jeep and backtracked to Route 1.
See you next week when we visit the Mark & Emily Turner Memorial Library in Presque Isle, a little Carnegie wrapped inside a bigger building.
We are just getting warmed up!