Chase R. Whitcher, architect of Soldiers Memorial
In 1911, the Woman’s Relief Corps (auxiliary to the Grand Army of the Republic, who fought in the Civil War) offered "to present to the town of Deerfield a building suitably arranged for a library and small assembly hall, to be known as Soldiers Memorial, to be kept forever as a memorial to all soldiers or defenders of this country who claim Deerfield as their home. This building is to be the property of the town on condition of its being kept in repair forever by said town.”
They chose as their architect, Chase Roy Whitcher, a New Hampshire native and one of the most successful architects in northern New England. He was known for his Colonial and Classical Revival motifs, commonly featuring symmetrical facades with center entrances, sheltered by columned porticos, favoring brickwork like what we see in the design of the library building. At the time of the construction of Soldier’s Memorial, Whitcher had been made the NH State Architect. Many of the institutional buildings constructed by the state were designed by Whitcher, including the NH State Hospital, and the NH State Sanatorium in Warren, NH. Other public libraries designed by him include the beautiful Lisbon Public Library. He designed Town Halls such as the ones in Bath and Bedford, NH.
Choosing such a prestigious architect for the project guaranteed an impressive building. Whitcher did not disappoint. He presented the building committee with a design for a small, one-story, hip-roofed brick structure in the Classical Revival style, set on a high cast-stone foundation, with a pedimented gable-roofed portico and fluted concrete Ionic columns.
Whitcher went on to design many well-known buildings, such as the Capital Theater in Concord and, his last major project, Spaulding High School in Rochester, completed in 1939 right before his death.
With the exception of the addition of handicapped lift, which was done with the minimum possible impact, the building has retained most of its original character and architectural integrity. It has been officially entered into the National Register of Historic Buildings and is among the town’s historical treasures.