Thursday Doors – August 18, 2016

Thursday Doors is a weekly feature allowing door lovers to come together to admire and share their favorite door photos from around the world. Feel free to join in on the fun by creating your own Thursday Doors post each week and then sharing it, between Thursday morning and Saturday noon (North American eastern time), by using the blue link-up button below. 

Haskell Library & Opera House – Stanstead, Québec & Derby Line, Vermont


Opened in 1904 the Haskell free library and opera house was deliberately built on both sides of the Canada-U.S. border as a tribute to the spirit of friendship between the two countries.

Setting up a shared library and opera house between the sleepy little border communities of Derby Line, Vermont and Stanstead, Quebec was the brainchild of Canadian Martha Stewart Haskell.

It was meant not only to honour her late husband, American sawmill owner Carlos Haskell, but to further cement the bond between neighbors in both towns.

DSC_1368 DSC_1367

Over the years these two little communities had become so intertwined that today they share firetrucks, water and sewer systems, and there are many bi-national bloodlines among the families that live there.

After the 9/11 attacks on New York and Washington D.C., border security was tightened considerably to the point that the towns’ three streets that crossed the border without going through customs checkpoints were gated. Henceforth anyone crossing the border, even if only on foot to visit neighbours for coffee, was now required to report in to the local border patrol and customs office first 😦

Fortunately townsfolk on both sides of the border were able to petition Canadian and U.S. Customs to make one small exception to the new rules specifically for the Haskell.


Since the main entrance is on the Vermont side, the rules were relaxed allowing Canadians to cross the border on foot to access the library without having to report to U.S. Customs just to take out a book.


Let’s take a look inside and check out some of the doors and other features, shall we?


Even the broom closet has a beautiful door!

The Haskell is full of wonderful old woodwork


and antique hardware


including gorgeous pressed tin ceiling tiles with a different pattern in each room


Of course the one thing that every out of town visitor comes to see at the Haskell is the famous line running diagonally across the floors to signify the international border that actually runs through the building

Childrens reading room

Childrens reading room


We took advantage of one of the guided tours which are available several times a day for only $5.00 U.S. or Canadian – a 30% bargain for Canadians based on the current exchange rate 😉 – of course all proceeds from the tours go towards the upkeep of the library.

After touring the ground floor library which contains over 20,000 volumes in both English and French our guide took us upstairs to see the opera house.


Thinking ahead and knowing that new books cost money, Mrs. Haskell had included the opera house in her plan so that the profits from shows could help to finance the library.


Can we count this as a door?

Here’s the billboard for the inaugural show back in June of 1904:


A sign of the times? Black-face minstrels, oh my 😦

The opera house has a total capacity of 400 on two levels, with hard old wooden not-so-comfy seats for their patrons.


Hence the need for this sign I guess?


More of those ceiling tiles and some lovely ornate plaster work on the balcony facade.


Gorgeous, yes?

One of the features I found amusing were these under-seat hat holders so that proper gentleman of the day wouldn’t be obstructing the view of the stage for those behind them.


Yes, that’s my hat, and no I didn’t forget it there.

Another shot of the border – the stage is in Canada while most of the seats are in the U.S.

This patron can watch the show with one cheek in each country!

This patron can watch the show with one cheek in each country!

Even the door to the loo is pretty

Even the door to the loo is pretty

Theatre side exit door and oh that radiator!

Theatre side exit door – oh my, look at that radiator!

Despite this post being a little sparse on gorgeous doors, I do hope you enjoyed the tour as much as did. In fact Honey and I are making plans to go back to the Haskell to check out a show sometime in the fall.

For anyone interested in visiting, the closest highway to the Haskell heading southbound east of Stanstead Quebec, is provincial Autoroute 55 – on the Northbound side, I-91 takes you just east of Derby Line Vermont. On either side, it’s the last exit before the border.

If you’d like to read more about the Haskell and its history click on the link to their website back up at the top of this post.

Feel free to join us and add the link for your Thursday Doors post to our weekly list, by clicking on the blue button below and following the simple instructions. It’s easy, it’s fun, and it’s also somewhat addictive 🙂

If you share your posts on Twitter and Instagram remember to use the #ThursdayDoors hashtag and please do take a few minutes to visit the Thursday Door posts shared by others.

As always I thank you for looking 🙂

About Norm 3.0

World’s youngest grumpy old man & heart failure wonder boy. Interests: writing, woodworking, photography, travel, tennis, wine, and I know a bit about power tools.
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71 Responses to Thursday Doors – August 18, 2016

  1. Pingback: Doors. A Walk Through Castleberry Hill With Norm. – Michelle Lunato Photography

  2. Lynne Ayers says:

    Some very nice images of doors in this set, Norm. Here is my shot –

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Vicky says:

    What a wonderful, quirky place- Library, Opera house, hat-holders and straddled across two borders…you just have to love someone that went to all that trouble. Thank you for sharing such a great post- the broom closet door is highly superior, I hope the brooms are too!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Nato says:

    What a great place, and wonderful photos! I can see how there may be a border issue and yet, how the need for free flow of people would be needed. Good to know they came up with a solution.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. reocochran says:

    The Haskell and it’s woodwork, brass details and cute signs was a marvel, one of a kind story and experience, Norm. I started this comment and fell asleep! It reminded me of how a good old movie would go. Something to leave me dreaming. . . a time where one part of a building was in a country and its neighboring country shared the other half. Like a “make-believe story! Loved this post and it will be a destination spot in my future. . .

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Norm. Great doors. By the way just realised I forgot to add my link to your post last week shall I add it to this weeks one instead? Sorry for being so forgetful!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. BeckyB says:

    Love the ‘cheeky’ seat, and so pleased the authorities showed common sense about the library.

    Fascinating post, fascinating place . . when I finally make my return Canadian visit I’ll visit here so I can see all the doors (and the line) in person.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Prior-2001 says:

    enjoyed each and every single door ! sharing the interior walk thru was a good idea – and I actually enjoyed the comments so much too – I love when I have the chance to read them for certain posts!
    by the way – I have not linked my door photo post to the linky yet – but will get to it later – I have limits on what I can do right now –
    anyhow – hope you have a great day – 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Amanda Ricks says:

    You’re certainly right, such beautiful woodwork. What an interesting place and tour.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Wow, beautiful woodwork and doors; reminds me of San Francisco’s City Hall when I had my office there at one time. Even better, government officials (Border Patrols) acting in the spirit of good reasoning and judgment to create a good solution to allow “people” not Canadians or Americans to jointly visit this beautiful building/institution. Wish we could have more of this spirit of cooperation in the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Peter B says:

    I’ve never seen under-seat hat holders!! I like the old door knob hardware, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Leah says:

    What a great tour, Norm! Thanks. Love the skinny broom closet door and the under-seat hat holder. I wonder what genius thought of that!

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Ruth says:

    The hat holder under the seats is such a practical addition! Great post, Norm 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Beautiful building and doors. I would love to see that library and opera house.

    Liked by 1 person

  15. jesh stg says:

    50 cents was a lot, way back when! Love the broom closet door – I would like to have that one. And the radiator made me wonder in how many houses I lived having these! Thanks for the tour, Norm. Your posts are always interesting and often humorous:)

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Geert Smits says:

    Great photo’s! And thanks for the history lesson 🙂 Love the picture with the hat!

    Liked by 1 person

  17. jan says:

    What a wonderful story – and a very cool building. I love the under the seat hat holder.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Jan. The hat holders were something I’d never seen before, but it certainly makes sense, especially since hats were still very much in style back then.


  18. The door knob, the woodwork on that window, the ceilings, mouldings, and doors are superb! I really love the green trim around the front door too.

    What a gem you found this week! Thank you for the tour, and history about it.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. I love the wood and woodwork on these old doors. Most of today’s doors are just not as good.

    Liked by 1 person

  20. yhealthy2000 says:

    Silly question: where is the link-up button for door photos. Thanks.


  21. joey says:

    I don’t even know where to start with this post! Wow and Ooh and Ahh? 🙂
    I had to laugh at guichet, because I didn’t know this word until I got to Quebec, so here I am 20 years later, “Oh is that how you spell that?” Apparently it’s not just a direction people point to. Haha!
    Maybe it’s sparse on doors, but you always tell us one will do, sooo…. and hey, the doors you did shoot here are fantastic! I will have that doorknob, yes, please. And may I use the hat holder for my handbag?
    Great post 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Joey. I had a feeling you might like this one.
      You can’t have the door knobs – I saw them first 😉
      I guess the hat holder could work for handbags too. Hey if you ever make it out this way, it would be a good excuse for you to go check that for yourself 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  22. I had never heard of this building. Thanks so much for sharing. Countries working together, book, music, and beautiful architecture… so much to love! -Amy

    Liked by 1 person

  23. CarolynEliason says:

    What a great history lesson Norm along with your beautiful photos. My favorite “door” is the ticket window, and I really love the pressed tin ceilings. They have done a wonderful job maintaining this Canadian/America treasure.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. What a treasure, Norm, and thanks so much for the tour! Any library is wonderful to me, but this one is stellar. Love the idea and I would definitely sit in a chair that straddled the border. 🙂 While the doors are great, the pressed tin ceiling is what I love.

    Happy Thursday and may all doors open for you today!


    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Janet. I love the ceiling too. I was trying to take shots of the different patterns with each new room we went into, but I stopped when I realized I was starting to hold up the tour for the others 😉

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Sherry Felix says:

    Great tour of a very interesting building.

    Liked by 1 person

  26. marianallen says:

    What a treat! I’m drooling over the woodwork, doorknobs, and other details. And that wee door behind the radiator has to be my favorite door ever! 🙂 Thank you so much for the tour! Of course, nobody who grew up going to the Vacation Bible School that I did would be able to see that border line without wanting to play On The River And On The Bank. Not a good thing, in a library! heh

    Liked by 1 person

  27. joannesisco says:

    Norm, you have a real knack for discovering these interesting places with their great history, architecture, and yes – doors 🙂
    I vaguely remember the controversy around this town after 9/11. I can’t imagine how a town council can work under 2 jurisdictions – unless there are 2 town councils.

    It is nice to see that this lovely old building has been beautifully maintained.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Thanks Joanne. I’ve known about this place since long before 9/11 and it was always on my ‘one of these days’ list. We finally got around to it recently and I’m so glad we did – it was a LOT of fun.
      As far as I know there are two separate town councils, but there is also a joint committee that meets regularly to look at the issues that both sides have in common.

      Liked by 1 person

  28. trentpmcd says:

    Very cool, a true international library.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. This is a warm and fuzzy post, Norm. I think libraries are one of our greatest assets and then you throw in wonderful architecture, historical materials and the idea of ‘sharing’ instead of fighting. You certainly got my day off on the right foot. Thank you very much for the tour of this lovely building and the reminder of how Canada and the US continue to support each other through the years. 🙂

    Liked by 3 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Warm and fuzzy is exactly how we felt visiting this place Judy. And I was thinking of you the whole time because I knew you’d love it.
      If you ever make it up this way you HAVE to check this place out 😀

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Dan Antion says:

    What a wonderful story, Norm. It seems like a trivial thing, allowing people to walk across the border, but in these times, I can appreciate the significance of that small act.

    I love the stone building and entrance. I really like the narrow wooden panel door with the frosted glass. And, the arched ticket window “door” is beautiful!

    Thanks for including the interior pictures.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      Oh we had so much fun at this place Dan.
      After 9/11 it was touch and go for a few years, with a number of non-local politicians demanding that the entire place be shut down for security reasons. Thankfully cooler heads eventually prevailed.
      There’s still regular surveillance, and cameras are pointed on the place 24/7 but if that’s the price to pay to keep this little gem open, so be it 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  31. What an interesting place to visit, Norm. Love the fact that the building is right on the boarder and it’s good to hear the border patrol has been relaxed. However, that notice still sounds rather strict. Still, it certainly would not spoil the enjoyment of touring this beautiful building.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Norm 2.0 says:

      You’re right Hugh, it is very strict. On the American side they can be a little paranoid at times when it comes to national security, but can you blame them after what happened?
      It’s a sad but necessary sign of the times we live in. By now most people have adjusted to the stricter rules and take it in stride.
      The important thing is as you say, not to let it a few rules spoil the rest of it 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  32. katieprior says:

    What an amazing place! The seats are great, the hat holders are very practical and amusing and sitting with one cheek in each country, I nearly fell off mine! 😉

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Suvi says:

    Wow Norm, what an amazing tour you had. I love libraries but that opera house is gorgeous too. The fact that half is on the US side and half on the Canadian side is so unique, I’ve never heard of a building like that! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  34. Those photos are great Norm. I love the entrance to the Library and I had to laugh at the hat holders under the seats. I once had to sit through something and the woman in front of me wore a hat the size of a chandelier on her head the whole time. I had a creak in my neck from leaning to one side. I know, I should have said something……………:(

    Liked by 3 people

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