Waterloo Region Generations
A record of the people of Waterloo Region, Ontario.

Elmira Public Library Elmira

1913 - Yes, date unknown

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  • Name Elmira Public Library Elmira 
    Born 1913  65 Arthur St. S., Elmira, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Gender Unknown 
    Organization Elmira Public Library, Elmira, Waterloo, Ontario Find all individuals with events at this location 
    Died Yes, date unknown 
    Person ID I158  Properties
    Last Modified 7 Aug 2011 

  • Event Map
    Link to Google MapsBorn - 1913 - 65 Arthur St. S., Elmira, Ontario Link to Google Earth
    Link to Google MapsOrganization - - Elmira Public Library, Elmira, Waterloo, Ontario Link to Google Earth
     = Link to Google Earth 

  • Notes 
    • In April 1886, several men from Elmira and the surrounding area gathered in Karl Klinck's Hall, which was located at the rear of a Church Street West building. They were there to discuss forming an organization which would have both social and educational benefits for the area. The men represented a variety of occupations - farmers, a wagon maker, a furniture dealer, a hardwareman, a grocer, a watchmaker, and a newspaperman. They pooled their resources, which consisted of eight books and $36. This was the beginning of a library called the Germania Society, with a membership of 20. From this modest beginning grew the facility which serves the community today. ..... In January 1913,   Emanuel Martin was awarded the contract for the library building at a cost of $6,000. Construction of the  building began in the spring of 1913. The library was officially opened on December 26, 19131a

      1aThe History of Elmira Branch Library  (This text has been adapted from The Elmira Library , A History - A Heritage by Mary Anne Kirkness, January 1988, and the article "Grounds at Elmira library blossom; volunteers help make project grow" by Roddy Turpin, from the Elmira Independent, July 4, 1995


      The Elmira Library - 65 Arthur St. South

      The land for the Elmira library was donated in 1912 by August Kimmel, a founder of the Elmira Felt Co. and a leading Waterloo County industrialist.  A board and batten shop which served as Henry Hahn's cooperage then stood on the corner site.  He produced wooden tubs and buckets from wood soaked in the stream which is now a buried drain under the Water St. [now Wyatt St.] sidewalk.  Also on the site was the house that is now located on King St. [now Memorial Ave.] directly behind the library.  Like many small towns in North America, Elmira obtained a grant from Andrew Carnegie for the library building.  The 1912 portion of the building fulfills Mr. Carnegie's requirement of a functional rather than a pretentious building.  He favoured one storey libraries with plain ornamentation for small communities.  The only ornamental work is a Romanesque arch and semi-circular transom over the main entrance, with a small classically-styled portico consisting of a triangular pediment with dentils and Ionic columns.  During the winter of 1977-1978, an addition was added to the south and east sides of the 1912 building which doubled the area of the library.  The new addition was sympathetically designed to reinforce the original architectural features.  The addition was set back from the front fa?ade, leaving the focus on the original building, and the rounded windows echo the semi-circular arch over the original main entrance.2a

      2aElmira Three Walking Tours, compiled by Susan Bryant and Bertha Thompson for the Township of Woolwich LACAC (Local Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee), December, 1985 - submitted by Marion Roes  with permission of the authors 2011


      1988 marks a number of milestones in the history of the Elmira Library.  100 years ago, on January 24, 1888, a meeting was held to organize a Mechanics' Institute in Elmira.  Membership cost $1 a year.  The first board members were: David Bean, George Klinck, A. Werner, John Ratz, A. H. Erb, A. Blatz, Wm. Behrens, Sol Laschinger, Dr. Ullyot, and M. Weber. The librarian/caretaker, C. K. Jansen was paid $30 a year.  In 1911, the board applied for a Carnegie grant, and after A. J Kimmel donated the site on Arthur Street and the Elmira Council agreed to maintain the library, the Carnegie Corporation donated $7000 for the construction.  This amount would represent over $450,000 in 1988 dollars. Construction of the building began in the spring of 1913 and the Library was officially opened 75 years ago, on December 26, 1913.  In 1946, Miss Dell O'Neill replaced Cosima Schierholtz who had been librarian for 35 years.  Miss O'Neill tendered her resignation effective December 31, 1968, and Mary Anne Kirkness was hired as the supervisor of the Elmira Library. [Mary Anne Kirkness Cressman]3a

      3aExcerpts From The Elmira Library; A History - A Heritage, 1888 - 1988 compiled by Mary Anne Kirkness [Cressman] & Bruce Miller


      The November 28 issue of the (Waterloo) Chronicle-Telegraph noted that the Elmira Library Board awarded the contract for the building to Emanuel Martin at a cost of $6,500, but in January 1913, after tenders from the subcontractors were received, the same newspaper reported that the tender of Emanuel Martin was accepted after he reduced his total figure to $6,000.  The author's family lore is that her grandfather Charles Wilken, who was a mason, did the brickwork on homes, churches and other large buildings in Elmira, including the library.  He would have been one of the subcontractors hired by Emanuel Martin.4a

      4aWaterloo Historical Society Volume 96 - 2008, "Emanuel G. Martin: Bridging His Work and His Family" by Marion Roes, pg.6-24