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Do You Know These Facts About The Carpenter Memorial Library Building?

October 14th, 2014 · 1 Comment · 100th Anniversary, Children, City Library, Events, Local History, Main Branch, News, Newsletter, NH Room, Teens, Trustees


• The current home of the Manchester City Library was built by Frank P. Carpenter in memory of his wife Elenora Blood Carpenter

• The Carpenter Memorial Library took two years to complete, from 1912 to 1914.

• Edward L. Tilton and Edgar Allan Poe Newcomb were the architects selected to build the Carpenter Memorial Library.

• Mr. Carpenter spared no expense in the building of the library. The original cost to build it was approximately $355,000 in 1914 which equates to having spent $8.5 million in today’s dollars.

• The building is constructed of steel beams, granite, marble, brick, and concrete.

• All the woodwork is oak. The original oak tables are still being used by the public in some areas of the building today.

• The library had a central ventilation system at the time it opened.

• The library also had a central vacuuming system.

• The floors in our entrance way and the lower level hallway are made of marble.

• The staircases are steel construction with marble stairs. The front staircase’s balustrade was handmade.

• The walls are all plaster including all the trim work and details in the Rotunda and over the front stairs.

• Mr. Carpenter was a Library Trustee from 1892 to 1937.

• In 1937 Mr. Carpenter installed the bronze railing in the middle of the front steps.

• Mary Carpenter Manning (daughter of Frank and Elenora) was a Library Trustee from 1927 to 1965.

• The two Copper Beech trees were planted in May 1938 and survived the hurricane that fall.

• Aretas Blood Carpenter (son of Frank and Elenora) was a Library Trustee from 1940 to 1965.

• The original elevator worked until 1991 when it was “retired” for a more modern one off the back of the building.

• You can see the thickness of the library’s walls when you walk to the new elevator as they had to cut through the exterior wall to add on the annex.

• There are 173 seats in the library’s auditorium which was originally called the Lecture Hall.

• The children’s room was originally on the south side of the main floor and was one of the first of its kind in a public library.

• The library housed space for the Manchester Historic Association when it first opened in 1914.

• There are three chandeliers hanging in the library front foyer.

• Twelve oversized windows face Pine Street on the main floor.

• In 1986 the children’s room was relocated to the lower level.

• In 1991 the Manchester Garden Club raised funds to beautify the grounds as you see them today.

• The main floor bathroom was converted from a closet and was refinished in 2013 to be more historically in keeping with the rest of the library.

• The current air conditioning system was added in 2005-06.

• The Carpenter Memorial Building was honored with a preservation award from New Hampshire Preservation Alliance for renovations in 2007.

• The Library was featured in the 2007 New Hampshire Living Legacy calendar.

• The Library was also honored with a Manchester Historic Association award in 2007.

• The main part of the roof is flat and has three skylights. The roofline is covered with terracotta tile.

• The desk in the Rotunda is original to the building!

• The library was designed to holds 250,000 volumes of books! Today it holds just under that amount and the collection includes volumes of books, magazines, DVDS, audio books, microfilm, framed prints and many, many computers!

Every day when we come to work we are so grateful to work in such a beautiful and historic building.  We hope that you feel the same way too, and that you will join us as we continue to celebrate our Centennial this November!


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