Part 3 – The New Building

Contractors Frank Lewis and Sons of Bainbridge were hired to construct the new library building.  Ground was broken in July 1937.  The original plans called for a large main library hall, a vestibule entrance, a medium-sized work room, and a stack room.  Benefactor Clark Minor was involved in many of the design and construction decisions.

He also contributed ideas from his background as General Electric President.  He asked GE specialists to design a model electric kitchen.  It featured an electric refrigerator, small range, sink, and cabinets.  Minor also installed a General Electric automatic hot air heating unit run by natural gas. This was considered a very modern type of heating system in the 1930s.


Several important changes were made to the original design.   The architect’s blueprints  were reversed to allow better lighting in the main room. Original plans called for an brick exterior overlaid with white cement.  Trustees asked to leave the bricks in their natural red color.  The built-in steel shelves in the main room had the capacity to hold 4,000 books.  The proposed “stack room” became a children’s room. Visitors to the library today will find much of the building looks exactly the same as it did in 1937.


Only five months elapsed between ground-breaking and completion.  The speed and efficiency of the contractors is even more impressive when you note the beautiful craftsmanship of the pine woodwork gracing the fireplace and the main rooms.  The cost of the library building is also remarkable, in light of construction costs today.  Site cost was only $2,200.  Total cost of the building was $12,307.


Furnishings for the building included two reading tables, two round tables, 12 Windsor chairs, 4 ship’s captain’s chairs, a desk and revolving desk chair, a steel filing cabinet, and two overstuffed leather fireplace chairs.  The total cost of this furniture was a mere $641.  The two long tables, Windsor and captain’s chairs, and two leather chairs are still in use at the library today.


The new Deposit Free Library opened its doors to the public on December 18, 1937.  It was an immediate success.  The December 23, 1937 Courier reported, “…library officials have dreamed of the day when this useful enterprise would be housed in a modern building of its own.  That dream has become a reality and the library is today occupying a splendid new building which is an architectural gem, modern and complete in all of its equipment, an object of pride for every citizen of the village.”

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