History of the Library

Following is an article from the October 2, 1941 edition of the Florence Citizen.  Some explanations and comments are added in parenthesis to help us better understand the article today.  Thank you Bob, for sharing this article. 

“The first library in Florence was a free reading room established in the Blunt Block in March, 1897, through the combined efforts of the Methodist, Presbyterian and Episcopalian churches.  (The Blunt Block was on the southwest corner of Pikes Peak and Main streets.  The Blunt Block burned down in 1948 and is where Florence Family Dentistry is located today.)  The location was changed in 1899 to Main Street on the site now occupied by the Florence Auto Company (119 East Main St.), and again in 1902 to the Rock Island Building. (The Rock Island Building was a hotel located at 129 West 2nd Street.)  In December 1905, the library moved again to the corner of Front and Petroleum Avenue where it remained until 1916.

The present library site (corner of 2nd and Pikes Peak) was received as a gift in April 1917 from A. H. Danforth of the Gumaer Estates Company.  A. I. Hadley and W. W. Cafky of the library board were appointed a committee to have charge of the building of the library building, and the handsome $10,000 library, a gift from the Carnegie Corporation fund of New York City was officially dedicated on March 6, 1919.  The dedication was the crowning event of the efforts of a few faithful supporters who had sustained the institution for 22 years thru many difficulties. (The plaque that was given during the dedication moved with us to our current location at 130 Church Avenue.)

The first librarian was a Mrs. Stone, who was followed by Miss Madge Roseberry.  Mrs. F. A. Collar was elected in 1902 and served until 1912 when Miss Jessie Ludwick was elected to the office, which she has filled continuously ever since.

Members of the library board at the time the library was built were W. W. Cafky, serving from 1903 until he left Florence in (?) to make his home in Denver; Mrs. N. W. McConnell, serving from 1903 until her death two years ago (1939); Mrs. Thomas Carmody, from 1908 until she moved to California some years later; Mrs. David Salmon from 1909 continuously since; A.I. Hadley, continuously since 1913.

Mrs. Salmon is now the senior member of the library board, and has been treasurer of the board for 32 years.  Mr. Hadley is second in years of service.  Mrs. W. L. Morris has served since 1919.

Other members of the library board serving in more recent years are R. R. Morrow, T. L. Crow and Mrs. Frances Griffith.

The management of the affairs of the library is in the hands of a board of seven members, of which the mayor, by virtue of his office, is president.

A tax levy provides a fund of $1,200 annual for the maintenance of the library, supplemented by a small amount derived from the sale of library cards, fines and donations.”