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Greenfield Public Library Cornice fragment

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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This cornice came from the Greenfield, Massachusetts Public Library, during extensive renovations in 1978. During these renovations, this and one other cornice fragment had to be removed. The cornice is decorated with dentils, the small rectangular blocks along its edge. Dentils were used in tightly packed rows, like teeth, below cornices. They were quite common in neo-classical American architecture, which took them from the designs of ancient Greece and Rome. Asher Benjamin (1773?-1845), one of the most prominent of the early architects of the United States designed this building in 1798. Benjamin's later work, including five builder's manuals, made him an influential proponent of the neo-classical, or Federal, style of architecture as well as the Greek Revival style that followed. He was one of the founders of the American Institute of Architects in 1837.


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