Galion Public Library marks 120th anniversary

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GALION — The Galion Public Library passed another milestone in its long history in this year.

One hundred and twenty years ago, on March 26 of 1901, the Galion Public Library Association was incorporated by the ladies of the Galion Current News Club. Soon after, the Galion School Board voted to fund the library with a 0.3 mill levy on Galion’s taxable property.

With a source of funding established, the members of the Association looked for a piece of property to provide a physical space for the newly founded institution. For $2,850, the lot where the current library sits on North Market Street was purchased. In addition to the land, the lot included an old log house that had been a residence for many years. The members of the Association turned the log home into the library, which opened to the public in early 1901. The citizens of Galion and the surrounding areas heavily utilized the new library, and it quickly became apparent that a larger facility would soon be needed.

As luck would have it, at the same time that the library was experiencing growing pains, Andrew Carnegie was offering cities across the country money to build libraries. Two representatives from the Galion Public Library Association, A.W. Lewis and J.W. Cupp, traveled to New York City in early 1902 and successfully pleaded their case for a new library to be constructed in Galion. Mr. Carnegie gave the association $15,000 on April 15, 1902 for the building and the citizens of Galion donated the remaining $1,559 needed for the project. The log house was moved to the back of the lot and construction of the new library began, finishing in 1904 when the dedication took place on April 28th.

As the years rolled on, the Galion Public Library continued to play an important role in the life of the community under the leadership of directors such as Elizabeth Allwardt Hartman, Olive Gill, Fred Kirby, Lynn Dominick, and recently Vicki Eckenrod. By the 1980s, it became apparent that more room was needed in order for the library to grow. The old log house, which had been used for storage by the library, was moved to Heise Park in 1984. Construction of the building addition began with the support of a 1.1 mill property tax levy passed in 1988 and after numerous members of the community made significant donations. The renovated library opened to the public in 1991, exactly as we know it today.

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