Jersey City

Library

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With 15,515 books in stock and with no fanfare, the new library opened on July 6, 1891 in rented, gas- lit rooms in two adjacent bank buildings on Washington Street, near York. To go from one part of the library to the other, the public had to go out into the street. Clearly, a new structure was needed, one designed to house a large book collection and to provide seating capacity for a city with a population reaching the 200,000 mark.

Throughout the 1890s the trustees and library staff acquired land at Jersey Avenue and Montgomery Street, hired a supervising architect, Professor A.D.F. Hamlin of Colombia University, and announced a design competition. The architectural firm of Brite and Bacon of New York was selected, contracts were awarded, and, on August 16, 1899, the cornerstone was set in place. On January 14, 1901 the new building, today's main library, was dedicated.

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