Baldwin’s Book Barn

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[click on the images to view them larger in a slideshow]

A month ago, we visited the historic Baldwin’s Book Barn, a five-story, stone barn in West Chester, Pennsylvania. It began as a massive milk barn, built in the early 1800s. In 1946, the Baldwins transformed it into a huge bookstore and with over 300,000 books, one that is impossible to leave.

It has so much history, you can feel it. It is no surprise the Book Barn houses many rare books, maps, and manuscripts, especially local.

The Book Barn also has a country gentry character. Andrew Wyeth was a patron, so some of his beautiful paintings hang in the store. At the same time, many books are stacked in old fruit crates, and even crates of “medicinal” whiskey from the Prohibition era.

If only the walls could talk. There is no catalog of books, while they are well organized in sections and shelves, so all you can do is wander and explore. The few hours we had were nowhere near enough. We’ll return some day…

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