Howland Cultural Center
The Howland Cultural Center, also known as Howland Library, is the former public library building of Beacon, New York, USA. It is located on Main Street ( NY 52 Business) in the city's downtown section, near Fishkill Creek. It was designed in 1872 by Richard Morris Hunt, brother-in-law of Joseph Howland, a Beacon resident who had served as a Union Army officer in the Civil War and, afterwards, as New York State Treasurer. He was one of a committee of ten local benefactors who had joined to establish a library for their city, and commissioned Hunt for the job. It was one of the architect's earliest works ; he would later design the base of the Statue of Liberty as well as the Fifth Avenue facade of the Metropolitan Museum of Art. Hunt's building uses Norwegian architectural and carpenter Gothic elements. The roof features six gables and is tiled in Delaware slate; the walls are red Croton brick interlaid with lighter Jersey brick. The foundation is made of bluestone and granite quarried at nearby Breakneck Ridge. The interior of the building boasts a 34-foot (10 m) ceiling supported by handwrought Georgia pine pillars, with a balcony on the second story. Floors are of English cane felt overlaid with hemlock, to dampen sound, and topped with strips of Georgia pine. When the library opened, its 2,200-volume collection was available only to subscribers. Later the library opened to the general public, but by 1976 the collection needed more space and so the library moved down Main Street to the vacant Fishman Department Store building. The old library building is now in the hands of a private non-profit organization, the Howland Cultural Center, which presents art exhibitions and other cultural activities. In 2007, the center announced that it would be installing geothermal heating to cut its energy costs and reduce the use of fossil fuels. A system using water in vertical pipes to be dug 250 feet (76 m) into the earth beneath the center will both heat and cool the building.