Building Preservation

{Working to restore and revitalize our beloved Chapel Street home}

Our Chapel Street Home

The Young Men’s Institute Library building at 847 Chapel Street in New Haven is a four-story, brick and wood-frame building constructed in 1878.

Building Preservation and Accessibility goals:

  • Accessibility improvements
  • Critical infrastructure repair
  • Energy efficiency updates

To see this through, we are seeking:

  • Private funding
  • Institutional funding
  • Community support

Continue reading to learn about the improvements we plan to make, and please consider making your contribution today. 

Our Chapel Street home, designed by architect Rufus G. Russell, a student of Henry Austin, and constructed in 1878, is a four-story masonry building located one block from the historic New Haven Green. The building’s street level is a storefront rental space (owned by the Library), with separate access via stairs to the main library reading rooms and stack areas on  the second floor. The third floor consists of a large gallery space in the front of the building, a music listening room and conference room, and an office in the back. The attic level,  a completely open plan with exposed brick walls and wood roof framing,  currently accommodates the Library’s maintenance office and storage. The building’s basement, which  covers the entire building footprint, serves as a storage space for the Library, and houses the oil-fired furnace that provide the building’s heat.

Project Intentions

  • Construction of an interior machine-room-less ADA compliant elevator and shaft connecting all levels of the building.
  • Creation of new ADA compliant toilet rooms and reconfiguration of existing toilet rooms with ADA compliant plumbing fixtures and stainless steel grab bars.
  • Creation of a new gallery at the attic level, with new interior painted gypsum board partitions and new interior passage panel doors.
  • Creation of new ADA compliant shared access corridor and entry at the street level storefront, maintaining the historical integrity of the existing entrance.
  • Repair of 3rd floor framing, specifically the existing 6 x 12 wood carrying beam, running longitudinal to the building along the existing stairs to the attic floor.
  • Repointing and repair of ice-damaged brick at various locations at the interior and exterior of the building.
  • Repair of all damaged interior plaster, including but not limited to observed areas such as the central chase wall at the back office (currently draped with cloth), behind all steam radiators, at the attic stair wall, and at various areas of the basement ceiling.
  • Installing a hard-wired fire-alarm system for the entire building, as well as exit signs, emergency lights, and pull stations.
  • Providing security surveillance cameras, monitors, and associated wiring for all exterior doors.

And many more.  Email us, call, or stop in for a tour of the space if you would like to learn more.

Building Preservation Campaign

We are grateful for the generous Building Preservation Campaign support we have received to date from:

  • Façade Improvement Grant Program
  • Community Development Block Grant (CDBG)
  • New Haven Preservation Trust
  • Connecticut Office of Preservation Historic Preservation Technical Assistance Grant (HPTAG)
  • National Trust for Historic Preservation Cynthia Woods Mitchell Fund for Historic Interiors
  • The Connecticut Department of Economic and Community Development (DECD) Good to Great Grant
  • Numerous private donor contributions

If you would like to discuss making a gift to our Building Preservation Campaign, making a restricted use or capital gift, or remembering the Institute Library in your will or trust, please contact home@institutelibrary.org. Your gift will help restore and revitalize our beloved Chapel Street home. With your help, the Library will continue to serve the New Haven community for many generations to come.

Make your contribution today.