Happy Library Week! This week marks National Library Week which honors and celebrates our nations’ awesome libraries! As an avid book worm, I just knew I had to research the Manchester City Library and see what information I could find! Little did I know (silly me) Manchester’s library has quite a history!
Frank Carpenter spared no expense in the planning and construction of the new library building. He hired architects Edward L. Tilton of New York and Edgar A.P. Newcomb of Honolulu to design the Italian Renaissance style building which would serve not only the then present needs but growth over many subsequent decades.
He purchased a prime development property on Pine Street, between Concord and Amherst Streets, directly across from what is now Victory Park. In the actual construction, he used Concord granite, Botticino and Lastavena marble. The structure which still houses the library today was dedicated, before an estimated crowd of more than 5,000 people, as the Elenora Blood Carpenter Building on November 18, 1914.“
That means that this year is our library’s 100th birthday in this location! The actual library ‘system’ in Manchester was started in 1854. “In his inaugural address that year, Mayor elect Frederick Smyth proposed the establishment of a free public library for all of Manchester’s citizens.”
O’Neil and Brisbin write: “The new city library soon outgrew its original site in the Patten Block on Elm Street next to City Hall. In 1871, the City erected a new building for it on Franklin Street, on a lot given by the Amoskeag Manufacturing Company. In spite of an addition built several years later, the library’s expanding collections and enthusiastic user group soon outgrew that Franklin Street location as well.“That’s when Mr. Carpenter stepped in to build the library we know and love today!
Mr. Carpenter’s philanthropy extended even further than building the library. The Carpenter family’s “funds built the Manchester Historical Association building on Concord Street, assisted with the construction of the former Amherst Street Post Office building (now the law offices of Devine, Millimet and Branch) and paid off the mortgage of the Manchester Y.W.C.A. building on Concord Street. The Carpenter home on North Elm Street was bequeathed to the local Red Cross which still has its offices there.” Pretty remarkable, huh!?
See the slideshow below for pictures from the Manchester Historic Association
of the library on Franklin Street and the building of today!
SPECIAL THANKS TO THE MANCHESTER HISTORIC ASSOCIATION FOR LETTING ME EXPLORE THEIR ARCHIVES ONCE AGAIN!