May 2014 Last Look: One Building Divided Between Two Countries
The Haskell Free Library and Opera House was intentionally built straddling the border between Quebec and Vermont.
This story is part of Governing's annual International issue.
Library users and theatergoers in the towns of Derby Line, Vt., and Stanstead, Quebec, have something in common. Besides sharing an international border, they also share a combination library/theater. Completed in 1904, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House was intentionally built astride the border to provide the two communities with a cultural center. A painted line delineating the border runs across the floors of both the library on the ground floor and the opera house above it. In the library, the stacks are in Canada, and upstairs in the opera house, audiences sitting in the U.S. applaud performers on the Canadian stage. Locals say that the Haskell is “the only library in America with no books” and “the only opera house in America with no stage.” There are a few jurisdictional complications. For instance, if the opera house needed to be evacuated, patrons must exit through a newly built fire escape on the Canadian side of the building. As a result, any Americans in the audience would have to immediately report to the immigration office up the road.
Join the Discussion
After you comment, click Post. You can enter an anonymous Display Name or connect to a social profile.
LATEST INFRASTRUCTURE & ENVIRONMENT HEADLINES
Blinded by Light Pollution4 days ago
San Francisco’s Rainbow Crosswalks4 days ago
What Can Cities Really Do About Climate Change?4 days ago
Washington, D.C., One Step Closer Toward a Soccer Stadium6 hours ago
Maryland Governor Approves of Fracking in his State6 hours ago
California's Earthquake Warning System Is Ready to Go23 hours ago