Tuesday, July 8, 2014
Public Library, Waltham, Massachusetts
[LIB11108] Waltham Public Library traces its roots to 1865 when the town created what was called the Free Town Library. It was formed from the merger of three older libraries: the Waltham Social Club, the Rumford Institute, and the Agricultural Library Association. The new library was located on the top floor of a bank building, later, in 1880, moving to new quarters at the corner of Charles and Moody Streets.
It took a generous benefactor, Francis Buttrick, to give the town the building now in use. He started out as a carpenter in town in 1838, eventually starting his own business and purchasing a lumberyard in 1857. He made his fortune in real estate and was able to give the money for a new library building.
In 1913 the planning committee decided that the new library's site would be where the old Central House stood on Main Street. It went back to 1679 and was run as a tavern by a David Smith. Loring and Leland, architects in Boston, were chosen in 1914 for the design of the new building, and the groundbreaking was held on October 23 of that year. The formal dedication of the new library was held on December 11, 1915 with a gala event, and the library reopened to welcome patrons on the thirteenth. [Website]