Library History in Photos: On the Move

Mentor Library's first building of its own is taken on the road in 1960. Courtesy of David Gartner.

Mentor Library’s first building of its own is taken on the road in 1960. Courtesy of David Gartner.

As part of our bicentennial, we asked for your historical photos from Mentor Public Library. And, wow, did we get a doozy this week.

Local photographer David Gartner snapped some gorgeous photos on the day our original library building moved down the street.

A little history is helpful here:

For nearly the first century of our existence, Mentor Library didn’t have a home of its own. Our books were housed in private residences or, later, in Mentor Village Hall.

We finally moved up and out at the beginning of the 20th century when a Mr. Addison Goodall offered $1,500 to $2,000 toward a library building if our Board President James R. Garfield and the rest of the board could raise the remainder.

(To keep your Garfields straight, James R. Garfield is the son of President James A. Garfield.)

Abram Garfield, a famous architect and another son of President Garfield, designed our new building. It opened on May 31, 1903, at the corner of Center Street and Mentor Avenue.

Now, this building may look familiar. It still exists and currently houses the Confectionary Cupboard.

So you may be wondering (1.) why isn’t it a library anymore and (2.) how did a building move from Mentor Avenue to the intersection of Center and Nowlen Streets.

The answer to your first question: we outgrew our first home and moved to what we then called our Garfield Unit in 1960. You now know it as our Main Branch. It’s been expanded and renovated in the last 60 years, but it’s been one of our homes ever since. (Well, not counting the two years we needed to relocate to Tyler Road.)

As per the second question: the credit for saving that historical building goes to one heroic woman, Lila Moore Schaefer. Ms. Schaefer recognized the value of the building, purchased it and had it moved to its present location in 1960. She lived in the building and also used it to house her real-estate business until she passed away in 1964.

Then, insurance brokers Don and Marguerite Krueger purchased it. In 1979, it was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

We hope you’ve enjoyed this trip down memory lane. Thanks to David Gartner for making it possible!

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