Sturgis Library

3090 Main Street
Barnstable, Mass.

Year Built: 1866

Sturgis & Brigham were the architects of the renovation of this house into a library in 1867 when Captain Sturgis donated his house and books into what is known today as the Sturgis Library. The building was originally the Rev. John Lothrop House built in 1644 and is currently part of a National Register District.

Sturgis & Brigham was a leading Boston architectural firm in the late 1800s. It was formed in 1866 and dissolved amicably on August 1, 1886. Brigham went on to practice with John Spofford (Brigham & Spofford) from March, 1888 to February, 1892 and then with Charles Coveney and Henry Bisbee (Brigham, Coveney & Bisbee) from June, 1906 until his retirement at age 78 in 1919. At all other times, Brigham practiced alone. John Hubbard remained in solo practice until his death in 1888 at age 54.

Sturgis sailed for England in September, 1866 where he remained until September, 1871. During this time, Brigham wrote to Sturgis approximately twice monthly to update him on the state of affairs of the firm and to ask for as well as provide guidance on the firms various design activities. Although almost all of Brigham’s letters survive, unfortunately only a few of Sturgis’ do.

In one of the letters from Brigham to Sturgis dated February 5, 1867, Brigham is rendering an account of the firm’s receipts. One of them is $50 for “Barnstable Library.”

Sturgis & Brigham customarily charged 5% of the construction cost as their fee. This would mean that the renovation would have cost about $1,000 on 1867.

The renovations likely comprised work to create the Hooper Room, removing the ceiling in the western front room to create a lofty reading room with gallery space on the upper walls, plus the addition of shelving. Also, the second floor was made into a residence for the librarian who exchanged his services for rent. There was also other work done at this time.


• National Register District


• Letter from John Hubbard Sturgis to Charles Brigham, February 5, 1867, Sturgis Papers, Boston Athenaeum.

• Walking Tour of the Sturgis Library, Sturgis Library (undated), pp. 1 and 7.

• A Short History of the Sturgis Library, Eugene Exman, ca.1972 and revised and updated by Lucy Loomis, 2013, pp. 7-8.





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