Kenneth Young, president of the Hubbard Free Library board of trustees, points Tuesday at damaged storm window frames as he discusses vandalism to the Hallowell library. On Monday morning, contractors discovered the storm windows on the large window on the back of the building had been broken. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

HALLOWELL — Four window panels at the Hubbard Free Library in Hallowell were destroyed over the weekend, but the stained glass protected by those panels remains intact.

Kenneth Young, president of the Hubbard Free Library board of trustees, said the damage was discovered at about 10 a.m. Monday. He said while it was unclear when the vandalism occurred, it likely took place between Saturday night and Monday morning.

The stained glass window itself was constructed in neo-Gothic style and Young said it is about 25 feet high. The window is covered on the outside by a custom-manufactured storm window, which includes individual panels enclosed in a frame that mimics the shape of a window opening.

Four of the panels on the top-right side of the window were destroyed, according to Young. As part of the storm window’s design, Young said, it breaks into small, popcorn-shaped pellets upon impact.

The back window at the Hubbard Free Library on Tuesday in Hallowell. On Monday morning contractors discovered that the storm windows on the large window on the back of the building had been broken. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

The storm panels, installed in 2019, were made by a firm in Rhode Island.

“When we first saw the windows, they were in place, cracked and fractured, but they hadn’t fallen down,” he said.

While it is unclear exactly what occurred or who is responsible for the damage, Young said it seemed someone could have accessed the building through a right-of-way near the railroad tracks.

Young said officials at the library, built in three phases in 1880, 1893 and 1897, have contacted police and notified the library’s insurance company.

Young said it could be difficult to place a monetary value on the damage to the library. He said it cost about $45,000 to place storm panels on all 21 windows. And while only four panels were lost, he said he did not know the cost to have new glass cut and installed.

In 1937, Young said, a derailment at the adjacent railroad resulted in a boxcar coming through a stained glass window, destroying it and also taking down part of the library’s granite wall.

Shattered glass from broken storm windows over the back window at the Hubbard Free Library in Hallowell. On Monday morning, contractors discovered the storm windows had been broken. Joe Phelan/Kennebec Journal Buy this Photo

Beyond this, he said he was not aware of any other instance in which the building was damaged or vandalized.

Young said the Hubbard Free Library is a landmark in Hallowell and the oldest library building in Maine still being used as a library.

“At first, I was disappointed that a person or persons unknown would decide this was a way to have some fun,” Young said. “Then, I was annoyed because I know getting this resolved will take time and effort, so I was a little angry about it. But I guess it’s part of the cost of doing business.”


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