Historic Langhorne Association Research Library - Langhorne, Pennsylvania
Posted by: BruceS
N 40° 10.528 W 074° 55.392
18T E 506538 N 4447235
Quick Description: Historic former public library building now headquarters and research library of the Historic Langhorne Association in Langhorne, Pennsylvania.
Location: Pennsylvania, United States
Date Posted: 7/26/2008 8:15:47 PM
Waymark Code: WM49TX
"The first library in Langhorne was established by a decision of the Friends
Meeting. It was the natural beginning for an early Langhorne. It was noted in
the minutes of the Middletown Monthly Meeting on the third day of the seventh
month 1691 that 23 books had been received from the printer and most of them
were religious in nature. The minutes also gave a list of names of those who
could take the books home to be read. By 1718, 300 books were circulating among
the members of the Middletown Meeting.
Later, in 1799, when the Borough was called Attleborough, 34 men and women
signed a petition to charter a library for the Quaker village. Three years later
Governor Thomas McKean issued a charter to the Attleborough Library Company on
March 24, 1802. The books had been kept in private citizen’s homes, and on
shelves of the general store. The books were moved into a small house next door
to the Richardson House in the center of the village. It became the library when
the firehouse moved to Bellevue Avenue.
When the borough name was changed from Attleborough to Langhorne in 1876, the
library became the Langhorne Library. Twelve years later – in July 1888- ground
was broken for the red brick Gothic-style Victorian building which stands at 160
W. Maple Avenue. Miss Anna Mary Williamson, niece of Isaiah VanSant Williamson,
noted Quaker philanthropist, willed to three library trustees the sum of $12,000
for the purchase of the site and the construction of a library building. The
building’s bricks were manufactured in Langhorne and the elaborate rose-detailed
rosette inserts were purchased in nearby Philadelphia. The interior woodwork,
handmade from Chestnut wood, remains in its natural state. The will states the
entire $12,000 must be spent which was a challenge to the builders and trustees,
necessitating extravagant spending for that era. As a result the library was
illuminated by electricity, making it the first public building in Bucks County
to be illuminated by electricity.
In 1960 the name was changed to the Langhorne-Middletown Library and the four
small boroughs – Langhorne, Langhorne Manor, Penndel and Hulmeville – joined the
Middletown Township to support it as a free public library. In 1962 the first
structural change in the building that had been dedicated on November 9, 1889,
was made by adding a small balcony constructed to add 551 square feet to the
original 1500 square feet. The library served the community for 90 years.
Because of the population growth in Middletown Township following the
mid-fifties the need for a new building became apparent. After a merger of the
Langhorne-Middletown Library and Bucks County Free Library in 1971 the need for
a new building was given priority and after 4 years of patient effort the
Pennwood Branch of the Bucks County Free Library was built...
The old library building became the headquarters of the Historic Langhorne
Association by permission of Bucks County Commissioners in 1977. In keeping with
the Williamson Will a research library and museum is maintained and open to the
public on Wednesdays from 10:00 a.m. to noon and from 7-9 p.m. and
Saturdays from 10:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m." -
Langhorne Association website
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