Industrialist and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie funded the construction of thousands of libraries in North America, Europe and Oceania, including the one at 159 Pearl Street in Enfield. Carnegie provided $20,000 for the library, which covered the land, construction and furnishings. John Pickens, who successfully petitioned Carnegie for the funds in 1910, at first faced resistance from the town, which feared the library would be a burden. Pickens persevered and the library opened on May 5, 1914. The building later became a branch library after a new Enfield Center Library was built in 1967. Interestingly, there is also a Carnegie Library in the London Borough of Enfield.
The Guilford Free Library, at 67 Park Street in Guilford, was built in 1933 on land donated by Frederick Spencer (he had originally bought the land, which was near his home, in order to move a feed, grain and coal store from the property because the noise was bothering his wife!). Architect Archer Quick designed the Colonial Revival building to fit in with the historic architecture of the neighborhood. Many residents objected to a plan to replace it with a modern building in the 1970s. An addition was later built, designed by Gilbert Switzer and John Matthew of New Haven. The entrance to the library was moved to the addition and the front stairs and door of the original building were replaced with a large window and balcony.
Happy New Year!!! We begin the year with the Litchfield Historical Museum. The Noyes Memorial Building was constructed in 1901 (and expanded in 1906-1907) to house the town library and the Litchfield Historical Society, the latter of which had been founded in 1856. The building was built by John A. Vanderpoel in memory of his grandmother, Julia Tallmadge Noyes, a local resident and amateur historian who had led the Historical Society for many years. A granddaughter of Benjamin Tallmadge, she had married New York City attorney William Curtis Noyes in 1857. The couple owned the Benjamin Tallmadge House in Litchfield, which was inherited by their daughter, Emily Noyes Vanderpoel. Also an active member of the Historical Society, Emily Noyes Vanderpoel oversaw the completion of the Noyes Memorial Building after the death of her son, John A. Vanderpoel. She wrote two books about Sarah Pierce’s Litchfield Female Academy, which her mother had attended. The library moved out to a new building in the 1960s and the Historical Society then occupied the entirety of the Noyes Memorial, which was expanded in 1989-1990. Read the rest of this entry »
In 1880, the Laura Andrews Free Library and Benevolent Association was established in Thomaston with a gift from Seth E. Thomas, Jr. of New York in memory of his mother. A town library was established in 1898 and the Laura Andrews Free Library Association (as the Association had been renamed in 1882) loaned its library collection to the town. A building for the town library, designed by Griggs and Hunt, was constructed in 1900-1901 on land offered by Randall T. Andrews, a Thomas relative, worker at the Seth Thomas clock factory and an incorporator of the Laura Andrews Free Library Association. In 1906, Andrew Carnegie donated $1,700 to pay off the debt on the library building. In 1971, a new library building was constructed next to the old one. In the 1980s, the original Laura Andrews Library building was renovated as a children’s wing and connected to the 1971 structure.
The New Canaan Library was founded by volunteers in 1877 and received its first annual grant from the town in 1895. Housed for many years in a reading room on Elm Street, the library moved to a new building at 151 Main Street in 1913. Designed by Alfred H. Taylor of New York and New Canaan, the library is constructed of irregular fieldstone blocks. The building was expanded in 1937 and 1952 and the Lapham Wing was added in 1979. Due to increasing usage, the library is seeking to to replace its aging facilities.
The Rockville Public Library began in 1893 with a $10,000 bequest from George Maxwell (1817-1891), President and Treasurer of the Hockanum Company woolen mills, and another $10,000 raised by the town of Vernon. The George Maxwell Memorial Library building, at 52 Union Street in Rockville, was opened in 1904. It was the first public building to be designed by architect Charles A. Platt. Read the rest of this entry »
Begun as a lyceum in 1856, the Colchester Library Association was formally organized in 1879. Having occupied various rented quarters, the library’s permanent home at 8 Linwood Avenue was opened in 1905. A former Bacon Academy student, Dr. Edwin B. Cragin, a New York physician, provided the funds to complete the building, which was named the Cragin Memorial Library. Dr. Cragin was a specialist in obstetrics and gynecology, known for his phrase: “Once a cesarean, always a cesarean.” The Library was built on the site where the Cragin family home had once stood. The architect of the Neoclassical building was Albert B. Boss of New York. The library was later expanded with a new building in 2002.