Archive for the ‘Libraries’ Category

Clark Memorial Library (1936)

Wednesday, July 5th, 2017 Posted in Bethany, Colonial Revival, Libraries | No Comments »

A private library, called the Bethany Union Library, used to meet between 1798 and 1812 at the home of Capt. Isaac Judd. In 1930, residents of Bethany seeking to start a public library for the town, met at the home of Treat B. Johnson (1875-1947), a Yale chemistry professor and a descendant of two of the founding members of the original library. In 1936 a town library was finally erected at 538 Amity Road through the gift of Noyes Clark in memory of his parents.

American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailor’s Reading Room (1841)

Saturday, July 1st, 2017 Posted in Italianate, Libraries, Mystic, Organizations, Outbuildings, Stonington | No Comments »

One of the buildings at Mystic Seaport is set up to represent the American Seamen’s Friend Society Sailor’s Reading Room. The Society was incorporated in 1833 to provide moral and religious alternatives to the saloons, boardinghouses and brothels frequented by sailors while in port. The organization is best known for the libraries it placed aboard American ships for the use of sailors. The Society’s records are now held the Collections Research Center at Mystic Seaport. This historic organization is interpreted for Mystic Seaport visitors in a building erected c. 1841 as a work shop and tool shed by Clark Greenman of the George Greenman & Co. Shipyard. Starting in 1951, it was used as the Seaport’s Children’s museum, before housing the Reading Room exhibit. The building originally stood where the Treworgy Planetarium was built in 1960. It was moved to its current location in 1959. Read the rest of this entry »

Wheeler Library (1900)

Friday, May 26th, 2017 Posted in Libraries, North Stonington, Romanesque Revival, Schools | No Comments »

The Wheeler Library, 101 Main Street in North Stonington, is a private institution that serves as a public library for the Town of North Stonington. Funded with money donated by the Wheeler family, the Library was built in 1900 of Westerly granite. It was originally a school as well as a library, until the secondary school on the first floor moved out in the 1950s.

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Norwalk Public Library (1903)

Thursday, May 25th, 2017 Posted in Libraries, Norwalk, Tudor Revival | No Comments »

For my 50th post for the City of Nowalk, let’s look at the Norwalk Public Library building at the corner of Mott and Wall Streets (address: 1 Belden Avenue). The Norwalk Library Corporation was founded in 1879. This subscription library constantly struggled to find sufficient funds but its leaders finally persuaded the city to take it over as a public library in 1895. The library was originally located in rented rooms near Wall and Main Streets until funding was acquired from a Carnegie grant to erect a library building. A lot for the new building was donated by Hubert E. Bishop, the grandson of Norwalk manufacturer George G. Bishop. The Tudor-style library, designed by British architects W. and G. Audsley, opened in April 1903. The original entrance was on Belden Avenue, but when a major addition was constructed in 1978-1982 the entrance was moved to face Mott Avenue. The South Norwalk Library was founded as a completely separate entity, but was merged into the new city-wide system in 1975. Read the rest of this entry »

Douglas Library, Hebron (1898)

Tuesday, May 23rd, 2017 Posted in Hebron, Libraries, Queen Anne | No Comments »

The Hebron Library Association was formed in 1889, taking over the 200 volumes of the Hebron Literary Society, formed the previous year. Originally requiring a yearly subscription, in 1899 the organization became a free library. Books were located at the home of the Association’s president, Dr. Cyrus H. Pendleton, until a library building was erected at 22 Main Street in Hebron in 1898-1899. Its name was changed to the Douglas Library in 1949, after Dr. Charles J. Douglas endowed a large sum of money in memory of his wife, Ida Porter Douglas. She had no only greatly assisted the library over the years, but had been the driving force organizing Hebron’s Bicentennial Celebration in 1908. An addition to the building was erected in 1957. The library was much expanded and thoroughly modernized in the late 1990s. The library became a town department in 2005.

Ivy Glenn Memorial (1847)

Sunday, February 12th, 2017 Posted in Churches, Eastford, Greek Revival, Libraries, Public Buildings | No Comments »

In the center of Eastford is a Greek Revival building called the Ivy Glenn Memorial. It was built as a Methodist Church in 1847, the same year Eastford separated from Ashford to become a new town. In 1916, Eastford Methodists joined with Congregationalists to form a Federated Church and the former Methodist Church was sold to the town for $200. The building’s basement was repaired to serve as a place for town meetings. Restoration work was completed in 1934 with funds from the Civil Works Administration. The upstairs hall was now used for town meetings and the library and town offices were located in the basement. A new Town Hall was erected in 1969 and after town offices moved to the new building, the library was able to expand in the basement of the former church. This required a new renovation which was funded by a bequest in honor of Ivy Glenn made by her husband, Wilmer Glenn, a New York stockbroker who spent summers in the Phoenixville section of Eastford. The enlarged library opened in 1972. Another renovation was made after a fire in May 1979 damaged the front of the building.

The building is centrally located in the village of Eastford (179 Eastford Road), as described in Vol. I of A Modern History of Windham County, Connecticut (1920):

Eastford is one of those towns in the state where the center of population nearly coincides with the geographical center of the township. Miss Ellen Larned, in her valuable History of Windham County, tells us that “the first inhabitant was John Perry from Marlborough, Mass.; who bought 350 acres of land on both sides of Still River and settled upon it near the site of the present Eastford Village.” The grave of this rude forefather of the hamlet may be seen, if I am not mistaken, in the old grave-yard back of the Congregational Church. From the beginning the chief settlement has gathered around this original spot. The village is favorably located, with a healthful environment, a fine outlook, and excellent water power. There are six roads which unite at the village green in front of the Methodist Church; and now that the state road is constructed the facilities for travel are all that can be desired. A fresh hope for the place can be confidently indulged in. The old-time saying of one of its people is fast coming more true than ever before: “Eastford is the biggest place of its size on earth.”

Knowlton Memorial Hall (1924)

Saturday, December 31st, 2016 Posted in Ashford, Craftsman, Libraries, Public Buildings | No Comments »

Knowlton Memorial Hall, located at 25 Pompey Hollow Road in Ashford, was built in 1924 to serve as a town hall and library. These facilities are located on the second floor, while a large hallway and auditorium occupy the first floor. The building was the gift of Charles C. Knowlton (1844-1924), a native of Ashford who was a partner in a Putnam silk mill. He resided in New York City, where he marketed the firm’s silk, but he would spend summers in his home town of Ashford. He gifted Knowlton Memorial Hall in honor of his father, Jonathan W. Knowlton, and his ancestor, Col. Thomas Knowlton (1740-1776), who had served in the Revolutionary War. Col. Knowlton led a company of men who fought at the Battle of Bunker Hill and was killed the following year in fighting in New York. Knowlton Memorial Hall was designed by Herbert Loud and is constructed of local fieldstone, reflecting a rustic aesthetic associated with the Craftsman movement. The Babcock Library, originally opened in 1866, was established through a gift of $3,000 from Archibald Babcock (1780-1862), another successful Ashford native who became a brewer in Charlestown, Massachusetts. Initially located in the Warrenville General Store, the library had for many years been housed in the residence of librarian Peter Platt before finding a permanent home in Knowlton Memorial Hall. Babcock also gave $3,000 to establish the Babcock Band, which is the nation’s oldest civilian cornet band.