Derby Line (2).jpg

A view of the outside of the Haskell Free Library and Opera House.

Seeing Vermont takes you to a different part of the Green Mountain State, showcasing its scenery, buildings and people.

This week’s location: Haskell Free Library and Opera House, located in Derby Line, Vt. and Stanstead, Quebec

Where it’s located: Directly on the U.S. and Canadian border, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House is partly in Vermont’s Orleans County — towards the north-central section of the state. It sits in the incorporated village of Derby Line which is the last piece of Vermont on Interstate 91 before the border crossing.

The library is about 50 miles directly from the St. Albans area and about an hour and 45 minutes of drive time to the east.

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About the site: While currently closed because of the COVID-19 border regulations with Canada, the Haskell Free Library and Opera House is a tourist attraction in Vermont that allows you to quickly visit another country without a passport or visa.

According to its website, the only entrance is in the United States. However, people trying to access it from across the border are able to park in Canada, follow the sidewalk to the entrance, and visit the library; they must then return to Canada by the same route upon leaving, and they should understand that their movements will be monitored by the U.S. Border Patrol and the Royal Canadian Mounted Police.

Similarly, people entering the library from the United States are able to freely “enter” Canada by crossing over the line painted on the building’s floor — since they will have to exit back through U.S. territory.

While inside the library, visitors have to abide by the laws of both countries.

The Haskell’s construction began in 1901 and was completed in 1904 after a number of delays. It was a gift from Martha Stewart Haskell and her son, Col. Horace Stewart Haskell, and was dedicated to Martha’s late husband, Carlos, who was a prominent merchant.

The opera house is on the second floor of the building and has most of the audience sitting in the U.S., watching a performance taking place on a stage in Canada.

(1) comment

keith longmore

Mr. Nosek, thank you so much for lovely piece on the Haskell Library.

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