Between 1900 and 1970, the town of Suffield doubled its population, and the 1899 public library was outgrown. The city gathered funds to construct a new library, knowing that the endowment for the day-to-day operations of the library by Sidney Kent, in memory of his parents, would transfer to a new building as long as the name carried with it. The town hired Warren Platner, an architect, interior designer and furniture designer, based out of New Haven. Platner designed the Modern library with a concrete frame, faced with pink stone and white painted brick above, surrounds a central garden court. The flat coffered concrete roof and overhanging concrete project outwards over the terraced exterior courtyards. The interior is on five floor levels connected by gradual ramps with no stairs inside (at least at the time of construction). The town proposed a plan to demolish the library in 2008, replacing it with a larger library, but it was voted down by residents, saving (what is believed to be) the only free-standing Platner building remaining in the country.
Kent Memorial Library
Old Kent Memorial Library // 1899
In 1897, Sidney A. Kent, a Suffield native, graduate of Suffield Academy and successful Chicago businessman sought to build a $35,000 library as a memorial to his parents in his home town. Land was purchased from the academy, demolishing a significant academic building, and the new Kent Memorial Library erected. Kent hired architectural giant Daniel Burnham (architect of the famous Flatiron Building in Manhattan) who also designed Kent’s home in Chicago. It sat on the site of land purchased by the first Kent ancestor in Suffield. Sidney Kent furnished nearly 7000 books and periodicals and left an endowment of $25,000. The building was dedicated on November l, 1899. It was eventually outgrown and a new building was constructed across the street.