Framingham’s Historic Edgell Memorial Library
The Edgell Memorial Library was a finalist in a competition to win $100,000 to restore its majestic gothic windows. It was one of 25 sites selected for the Partners in Preservation initiative to give away $1 million in Greater Boston. Nearly 2.5 million people voted between April 14 and May 17 for the site they felt most deserved these preservation dollars. The Edgell Library came in fourth place with 7 percent of the vote or an estimated 175,000 votes. We were a “dark horse” in a competition filled with notable Boston institutions and the community support generated for our Civil War memorial library was truly remarkable. Thank you for your help!
Built to commemorate the valor of Civil War soldiers, the Library was the town of Framinghams’ first free-standing public library and remains a testament to the spirit of civic engagement and public service which built it. The Library is a cultural pillar of the community, which rallied to build it in 1872 and once again to save it from demolition in 1963. This grant goes to the next step in saving the building — restoring the Library’s magnificent Gothic windows and to install much-needed storm windows.
The Historical Significance
The Edgell Memorial Library, one of the few remaining Victorian Gothic style buildings in the area, anchors the Centre Common in Framingham, a quintessential New England town common. A monument to Civil War Soldiers, built in 1872 by local people using local materials, it is a testament to the determination of the community. When demolition was threatened in 1963 by the building of a new library, concerned citizens and the Framingham Historical Society rallied to save our beloved Library. Once again, we ask for your support.
Current Use of the Site
The Edgell Memorial Library is currently used as a cultural community center by the Framingham History Center, for monthly programming, local exhibitions, a museum shop, storage, and office space. The entire building is undergoing restoration scheduled for an April, 2011 completion, marking the 150th anniversary of the close of the Civil War. This project returns an important historic and cultural landmark to its original splendor, drawing families and residents to the center of Framingham and its history.
Why this Site Needs Your Support
The Edgell Memorial library is central to the cultural community of Framingham, and important for those who treasure history in any region. This grant helps support the essential restoration of existing windows and producing storm windows, increasing the building’s energy efficiency and the capacity for serving to house the Center’s collection of 10,000 irreplaceable artifacts, while serving as a community center. This gracious space with its satisfying proportions and superb artisanry deserves to be restored, once again, as inspiration for an entire region and for those looking to bring history to life.