More History of the Fanwood Memorial Library

Here’s more great information (and cool pictures) tracing the different locations of the library since it’s inception in 1897 from Josy+Jersey+Photos – formerly the New Providence Daily Photo blog. Thanks Josy

Fanwood Memorial Library!

The Fanwood Memorial Library [website] is the third library building to serve Fanwood.

The first one was built in 1897 to serve the post office; it was shared with the library from 1903 to 1928.
(The building is still standing! Look, here are some photos.)

Ye old round-roofed Fanwood Library/ Post office/ etc., circa 1897

The second one, used from c.1928-1951* [see note below], was a modest storefront operation a couple blocks away.

Fanwood Library, circa 1940

(If you look closely, you can actually try to read the label on the window:)

Fanwood Library, c. 1940: Seriously, there was a library here.

The third and final one has been used from 1951 onwards.

Fanwood Memorial Library, 1951

Here’s a intersting note about the architectural choices made:

“The architecture of our new England Colonial forebears is mainly distinctive for its simplicity.
It was based principally on economic necessity. Construction was simple and materials, which would stand the test of time, were for the most part easily obtainable.
Buildings were devoid of modeling, or ornamentation, but their fine outlines and good composition have had an enduring quality of distinction.

A library building for a residential community such as Fanwood should follow this form. A building of Colonial residential character answers our requirements and is consistent with the heritage of our community.
The use of hand split red cedar shingles, (called shakes in earlier times) and reclaimed brick for the exterior side walls exemplifies this patter and creates the atmosphere of softness and durable character sought in this type of structure.
The interior materials and decor add to this atmosphere and give the desired tone of reflective and enduring calm” (Fanwood Memorial Library, 1951, p. 1).

This addition was added in 1980.

Fanwood Memorial Library, 1980, under construction

* I’m actually not sure about the dates of use for the second library; I’ve got some conflicting information from various sources.
It seems like the original building may have stopped being used in 1928, been renovated, started use again in 1930, and shifted into that storefront building sometime between 1930 and 1940.

** If you’re looking for good vintage photos and historical information about Fanwood and Scotch Plains, NJ, the history society has a boatload of photos that are digitized and online.

Bousquet, R. and Bousquet, S. (1995). Images of America: Scotch Plains and Fanwood. Arcadia Publishing: Dover, NH. ISBN 0738563188.
Fanwood Memorial Library. (1951). “Dedication Ceremony and Observance of Fiftieth Anniversary (March 11, 1952).” Retrieved from The Joint Digital Archives of Fanwood and Scotch Plains. [pamphlet]
The Joint Digital Archives of Fanwood & Scotch Plains, New Jersey. (dates various). “Libraries: Fanwood Memorial Library.” .