The James Library Building

The Museum of Early Trades & Crafts is housed in the James Library building, built 1899-1900 to house the Madison Public Library. The architectural style is Richardsonian Romanesque Revival.

Features include:

  • vaulted ceilings
  • stained glass windows
  • stenciled and painted brick interiors
  • elaborate fireplaces
  • carved stone and wood detailing
  • a tower housing a working
    1899 Seth Thomas clock.

The Madison Room (formerly the Reading Room)

The building is named for D. Willis James, who gave the funds for its construction. The term "James Library building" is modern - Mr. James simply had the word "Library" carved in stone over the entrance. Newspaper articles from the early 1900's reveal that the grateful citizens of Madison did refer to it as the James Library.

In the mid-1990s, the building was restored to reveal its long hidden architectual features and the many
literary quotations that decorate the windows, walls and fireplaces. A new glass-roofed conservatory provides an elevator and ground-level entrance for those with limited mobility. All public areas of the building are now air conditioned for the benefit of both our visitors and our collection.

Entrance to the
Trustees' Room

For more about our building, including historical photographs, Click here!


Click photo for a 360° view of the main floor.
NOTE: file is 160 KB

You will need Apple's QuickTime viewer plugin to see this panoramic image. Click on the logo (right) if you don't already have it.

Home Page

©2006 Museum of Early Trades & Crafts