Clock Tower

Out of the Clock Tower



Hello and welcome to the Greene County Archives' blog, "Out of the Clock Tower".  Please join us as we share information on archival issues, news, special events, and highlights from our collection.

Before the archives program began in Greene County in 1996, permanent records were stored in every conceivable space, in basements, garages, and closets. Usually they were in boxes of various shapes and sizes, although seldom adequately labeled, but occasionally they were just in loose piles of books and papers. Most notable were the old records stuffed into the clock tower of the County Courthouse, where they shared their home with pigeon droppings.

Now, there is a clean, environmentally controlled, well appointed location for the county archives, where our historical records are housed in standard sized boxes on steel shelves. We have taken note of their journey in the name for our blog.

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May 12

National Library Week: The Xenia Carnegie Library

Posted on May 12, 2017 at 3:55 PM by Jessica Cromer

The first week of April is National Library Week so we thought we would provide you with a history of the Xenia Carnegie Library.

Xenia's first library dates to March 1816 when a group of 52 men formed a subscription library. Little is known about this first library's activities, but the group remained active into the 1870s.

The library movement in Xenia truly began when eight women who were graduates of Xenia College formed the Tuesday Club on August 20, 1878. The intentions of the club were for members to prepare literary papers and discuss literature, activities that would require access to a library.

By 1902, the Young Women's Library Association had learned about Carnegie's library building program and decided to apply for a grant. Louisa Lackey and Diana Roberts donated a 200 x 165 foot lot, part of their estate, for the site of the library building (Xenia Daily Gazette, October 24, 1977). Tax records housed here in the Greene County Archives show the transfer of this piece of Military Survey 2243 to the Library Association. Also during 1902, James Bertram, private secretary to Andrew Carnegie, in a handwritten note, granted the organization $20,000 for a library building.
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The architect William Kauffman, the nephew of Louisa Lackey and Diana Roberts donated his services in the design of the library. The foundation work on the library began in the fall of 1903, with construction continuing through the following spring. On July 22, 1904, the cornerstone of the library was laid. Construction of the building was completed in 1904, and in June 1905, the ladies requested and were granted an additional $3,500 for library furnishings.

The Xenia Carnegie Library's official public opening occurred on June 26, 1906 and was a gala affair attended by Xenia's social and political leaders.

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The 1920s saw an expansion of the library system with added branches throughout Greene County. In 1928 a book mobile was purchased to transport books between the branches.

In 1974, the devastating Xenia tornado damaged the hip clay-tile roof, stained glass dome, and several trees. The stained glass dome was repaired, while the clay-tile roof was replaced with asphalt shingles.

Eventually, the Xenia Carnegie Library no longer provided enough space for the growing library system. A new two-story library facility was built in 1978 closer to downtown and the Xenia Carnegie Library closed its doors and was used for storage. In 1983, the building was purchased with the intention of using it as a private residence. However, the building was sold back to the county and currently remains under county ownership.

Did you know that the Xenia Carnegie Library is on the National Register of Historic Places? It is now, all thanks to local resident and volunteer, Josephine Reno! You can read the nomination form on City of Xenia’s website at:

http://www.ci.xenia.oh.us/DocumentCenter/Home/View/3054

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