Wednesday, September 24, 2014
A native of Meredith, New Hampshire, James Edwin Nichols (1845-1914) found success with business ventures in Boston and New York. As a managing partner Austin-Nichols (NYC), he supplied canned goods to small retail grocers across the Northeast and Midwest. In 1909, Nichols offered to build and endow a library for Center Harbor as a memorial to his parents. The holdings of the Center Harbor Library Association (1889), a private collection, became the core of the new Nichols Library. In accordance with his wishes, the Library was to be ‘free and open to all,’ which it remains to this day. [Website]
On July 23, 1900, a group of interested citizens met in the Congregational Church for the purpose of organizing a library. At this time our name was established as The Warren Free Public Library. At this time the library rented the front room from the Knights of Pythias.
After the death of Moses and Eva Frances Mathews, money was left to build a building. We are now Warren Free Public Library in the M.R. Mathews Memorial Building. A Boston architect, Charles Loring, was chosen while William Hatch of Camden was selected as contractor, In August 1927, the building was begun and in August 1928, the dedication of the building was held. [Website]
On October 12, 1903, the blue marble cornerstone of the library was laid. The new library contained a Bible of Shakespearean works, a copy of the Pennsylvania School Laws, a list of the School Board and Library Commission members, and a dozen copies of the Items with articles about the library. [Website]
While library service in Ogdensburg dates back to at least 1828, the library moved into its present location, a Victorian mansion, in 1895. A remodel in 1921-1922, intended to transform the exterior, resulted in a fire during the construction process that destroyed much of the interior. Fortunately, most of the collection had already been removed, and what remained was stored in a fireproof vault. While some were damaged by water, the cost to the library - and to history - could have been much greater. The items in the vault were part of the Remington Indian Collection, donated by Frederic Remington's widow Eva, currently housed in the museum across Washington Street from the library and the impetus behind the building's remodel. [Website]