“I Cannot Live Without Books”-Thomas Jefferson
Last week I was on the hunt for Running For My LIfe by Lopez Lomong which lead me to the library. We have several branches of the Jefferson-Madison Regional Library, this being the Central branch located at 201 E. Market Street in downtown Charlottesville.
After NOT finding my book, (the other ladies in my book club have the book either checked out or on the wait list ahead of me), I walked around the block and back to my car. I usually park in the same vicinity when space is available so I was surprised when I noticed this building plaque directly next to where I parked. McIntire Public Library???? What? I’ve only known this to be the Historical Society. Time to investigate…
Yes, the Albemarle County Historical Society building, which sits somewhat behind the library I was just in, is the original site of our first municipal library, circa May 1921. (Our first recorded library was established in 1823 by the Albemarle Library Association and was located in Court Square). The land, building construction, furnishings and initial 5,000 books were gifted by Paul Goodloe McIntire, a local Charlottesvillian, who earned his fortune in the Chicago and New York Stock Exchanges in the early 1900’s. When he returned home to C’ville he gifted much of his fortune to the city and county (of Albemarle) including this library, Charlottesville’s first true public library. Here is one side of the marble steps leading up to the front doors to the Historical Society building. The Historical Society renovated this building in 1993 and moved in in 1994.
I don’t know what to call this fan-like ‘medallion’ or embellishment located in the porch ceiling but I found it a very pretty detail worthy of noting.
With these new building facts in mind, I wondered what business existed before the Central Library took over its current space on Market Street? Upon further reading I found the building served as the former Market Street Post Office and Federal Building, the post office operated on the first floor and the Court House on the second. In October 1977 Charlottesville and Albemarle County purchased and renovated the property and re-opened in February 1981 transformed as the Central branch library I visit today.
And all I wanted was a library book, that I didn’t get, but a history lesson instead. Thank you Norm for hosting another eventful Thursday Doors!