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Historic Yellow Barn at Riverhead Free Library reopens after undergoing repairs

The Riverhead Free Library celebrated the reopening of the Yellow Barn after it was temporarily closed for repairs with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Wednesday. 

Library directors and board members thanked the community and other sponsors for donating to the restoration, emphasizing the building’s historical significance. John Munzel, president of the library’s board of trustees, called the Yellow Barn “a symbol of the library.” 

The library closed the Yellow Barn in March to upgrade its electricity, secure the structure, refinish the floors and otherwise bring the building up to code. Construction was entirely funded by community donations.

Fundraising has continued as the library aims to raise another $60,000 for a second phase of restoration that focuses on the outside of the building. The plan is to strip the building of its current paint to replace it with a fresh coat of trademark yellow. Higher donations will be honored with memorial bricks or plaques.  

The Yellow Barn was built by the Perkins family, a historically prominent Riverhead family, as a carriage house around 1873. The land was eventually donated in 1958 to be the site of what would become the Riverhead Free Library. 

The Yellow Barn was restored in 1965, and again in 1995 after a small fire. It was moved about 25 feet to make way for impending library construction in 1998.

The Town of Riverhead granted the carriage house landmark status in 2017. It will be a stop on a tour of historic Riverhead landmarks that’s currently being curated by the Riverhead Landmarks Preservation Committee.  

The Friends of the Riverhead Free Library uses the Yellow Barn to sell gently used books. Revenue goes toward funding library programs.  

Hours of operation are Monday, Wednesday and Friday from 9 a.m. – 2 pm., and some Saturdays.