History (continued - 1)

The carriage-house library outgrew its quarters and in November 1926, we find the library committee raising a building fund. Fifty letters asking for contributions were sent out and at the January 20, 1927 meeting, the total received in response, plus proceeds from cake sales, etc., was $473.52. According to the minutes, this was enough for Mrs. Allyn to suggest that "we construct a new building."

At the library meeting November 28, 1927, Mrs. Allyn's optimism was justified, as the Board received "announcement of the gift of a new library building by Mrs. Edward C. Hammond as a memorial to her father and mother, James and Anna Chapin Rumrill." The library was to be placed on a lot on Great Neck Road, the gift of the Nevins family. The minutes record: "Mr. Rumrill was for many years president of the Springfield Library and both Mr. and Mrs. Rumrill were keenly interested in public affairs in the Town of Waterford and for years maintained their summer home in our township, where they were long known as public spirited citizens and where they are now lovingly remembered."

September 8, 1928, marked the formal opening of the new library building to which all the townspeople were invited "to inspect the beautifully furnished home of the Waterford Library. After a survey of the building the Library was hostess (sic) at a delightful collation held on the grounds of Mr. A. J. Perkins" (the adjoining property).

Mrs. Hammond was voted honorary life president of the Waterford Library Association, which office she held until her death in 1965.

In September 1930, the Gilead Community Club gave the library $250 "to be known as the Gilead Fund, the principal to be kept intact but the yearly interest to be used as the Library Association sees fit."

Perhaps spurred by this gift, the library committee began to think in larger terms of the need for an endowment fund. At this time the library had accumulated $2,000. In October 1930, Mrs. Darrow, library president, wrote to Mr. Edward S. Harkness concerning the matter. She evidently presented the case well, as Mr. Harkness sent word that if the library would raise another $2,000 by July 1, 1931, he would contribute $12,000. The income from the $16,000 fund plus annual town appropriation and state grant of $100 each, together with gifts of friends would provide the money necessary to run the library. The $2,000 was raised on time and in July 1931, the library received a check for $12,000 from Mr. Harkness, and the library had an endowment fund.

In November 1931, the library hired its first paid worker--Miss Ida M. Harwood was appointed Librarian at a monthly salary of $40, "Mrs. Jacques to continue as Book Committee." Miss Harwood served until her retirement in January 1958, and in April of that year the Board appointed its first full-time professional librarian, Mrs. Miriam B. Bantz.

The library continued happily in its attractive little building for some years until the Board realized the need for larger quarters and began raising funds for an expansion of the building. Then Fate stepped in, in the form of the State Highway Department, and in January 1959, condemned the library property as it was needed in the reconstruction of Great Neck Road to correct a dangerous curve and railroad underpass in the highway. The indemnity paid by the State for the library property amounted to $26,000, with permission to keep the building if it could be moved to another site.

In December 1959, Trustee Nelson C. White arranged the purchase of the Bingham-Gregor property on Rope Ferry Road (the site of the present library) for $7,000 for a new library. This six-acre piece of land has frontage of 600 feet on Rope Ferry Road opposite the old Nevins home and was once part of that property known as Shaw Farm.

In February 1961, the library closed its building on Great Neck Road where it had operated since September 1928. On March 14, 1961, with the help of many volunteers, the entire book collection had been moved to rented quarters in what was formerly the old post office in Jordan Village, and the library was again open for business. More