Thursday, December 21, 2017

From the Ground Up

At 3:30 pm on April 26, 1900 George E. Tufts, the son of the Conway library’s general contractor, removed the first shovelful of earth “at a point near the centre of the front wall of the building (site)...” officially starting the physical construction of the library.

Ironically a good place to start to learn about the history of the groundwork for the construction of the Conway Public is not outside, where it is currently pretty snowy, but rather in the library’s red reading room or “founder’s room.”

On the left, you can find a framed list of the original donors of the library site and park land. Here is a more detailed photo. Click on the image to enlarge it.

On the north wall are two framed photographic ensembles with captions explaining the key role people played in the original building of the library.

In the nearby periodical room can be found a bronze plaque explaining that the library was built as a memorial to Thomas Jenks (more on this later).

To learn more about the site of the library and it's original landscaping visit the Henney History Room in the library's lower level where you can find a blueprint detailing the landscape plans.

On April 11, 2003 there was another "groundbreaking celebration" for a library expansion.
Part of this project involved a "tree moving" machine that wrapped itself around a tree, dug down, scooped it up and drove it away.

Watch this space to learn more about building our library.

Thursday, December 7, 2017

Cellar to Shingles

Celebrating the Conway Public Library's National Register Listing

 To help celebrate the recent listing of the Conway Public Library building on the National Register of Historic Places we recently installed a small exhibit near the circulation desk.

The display includes a small example of the extensive materials we have on the history of the library building. In the future, we will do a series of blogs that look in more detail on some aspects of building the library.  

As seen in this copy of a post card, the roof originally included a balustrade around the edge. The slate and copper roof was recently restored.

 Before most printing went digital, a copper printing plate had to be engraved and inked before an image of the library could be printed. These plates were preserved so they could be reused. See if you can find an example in the display or archives of a printed copy of this image. Note the engraving is backwords on the printing plate.

Can you see the war memorial In this postcard? For more info on the memorial see this previous blog.

We have a file on the artist who made the original wooden sign for the library. Come in for a visit and see it for yourself.

 Here is an early photo showing the intricately carved woodwork and some of the library’s art collection on display. For more about the photos over the fireplace mantle see this previous blog.

The library also had a Cabinet of Curiosity that included oriental dolls, Phoenician coins, Canonballs,ostrich eggs, Native American baskets, and a Welsh candlestands which served as the library’s mascot and was the central feature of a musical concert.

 As an important public building there was much pomp and circumstance for each stage of building the library including laying of the cornerstone to the final dedication of the building. 

So come into the library soon to see the display and check out more about the building’s history in the Henney History Room.