Saturday, October 18, 2014
Friday, October 17, 2014
[LIB11159] - The Watts-de Peyster Library, built in 1897, faced College Avenue.
1897-1898 - First College library building constructed in Richardsonian Romanesque style at a cost of $16,055 plus $990 for a steam heating plant and $5,150 for steel book stacks; Named Watts-de Peyster Library after Frederick de Peyster and John Watts, father and maternal grandfather of donor, John Watts de Peyster (1821-1907); Library collections were formerly housed in the Literary Society buildings and in the college library, ground floor/Old Main; M. (Michael) O'Connor of Hudson, NY., Architect; George H. Oster of Lancaster, Builder. Original cornerstone laid May 1897 is located in lobby along with busts of John Watts and John Watts de Peyster. A sculpture of the donor's ancestor Abraham de Peyster was located in front of the building along College Avenue. It was moved to its present location along Buchanan Avenue in 1937. The building has been demolished.
[LIB11158] - In 1889 the Jacksonville City Council amended the city tax levy to include support of the free library and reading room. Charles W. Alexander served as the first librarian of the city-supported Jacksonville Public Library.
After being contacted in 1901 by Jacksonville lawyer Lawrence O. Vaught, Andrew Carnegie pledged $40,000 for the erection of a public library building in Jacksonville. The Jacksonville Public Library officially opened in its permanent home, the Carnegie building at 201 W. College Avenue, on February 23, 1903. [Website]