Haskell Free Library and Opera House

From Academic Kids

The Haskell Free Library and Opera House is a neoclassical building located in Rock Island (now part of Stanstead), Québec and Derby Line, Vermont. It opened on June 7, 1904 and was built on the border between Canada and the United States.

The library collection and the opera stage are located in Stanstead, but the library check-out and the opera seats are located in Derby Line. Because of this, the Haskell is sometimes called "the only library in America with no books" and "the only opera house in America with no stage".

A thick black line runs beneath the seats of the opera house and diagonally across the centre (or center) of the library's reading room to mark the international boundary. The stage and half of the seats are in Canada, the remainder of the opera hall is in the US.

The building was created by American sawmill owner Carlos Haskell and his Canadian wife Martha Stewart Haskell for use by the people of both countries; profits from the opera house were originally intended to support the operation of the free library.

The opera house on the second floor is modelled after the old Boston Opera House in a somewhat scaled down fashion (it seats four hundred). A painted scene of Venice by Erwin Lamoss (1901) on the drop curtain and plaster scrollwork complete with plump cherubs ornament the opera hall and balcony in this historic building, which was constructed with two-foot thick granite walls.

The Haskell family later donated the building to the towns of Derby Line and Rock Island in Mr. Haskell's memory; it is run by an private international board of four American and three Canadian directors.

The library has a collection of more than 20,000 books and is open to the public Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Registered in the National Register of Historic Places since 1976, this landmark also appeared in Ripley's Believe It or Not.

Phone: +1-802-873-3022 in USA, +1-819-876-2471 in Canada

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