THE DAYTON PUBLIC LIBRARY
By Charles F. Sullivan
Very likely you have a good history of the Library, but I know of some side interests that you may not know so I will give them to you and if of value you may use them.
I think that Ben Van Cleve had a small library which he loaned out at a small rental for many years and in 1848 a room was rented in the Phillips building at the south east corner of Second & Main where the Winters Bank is now located, by the Dayton Library Association.
Mrs. Conover also says that they used a room in the U. B. Building.
The Dayton directory of 1871 gives the address of the library “e s Main b 3d & 4th, over Market house; Mrs. Hiley Davies librarian.”
Mrs. Conover says also that they did use the old Central High school and my recollection is that it was just used while the old market house was being replaced by the new one and I know that they moved there at once and occupied the room now used by the police department.
The first floor had cases full of books and also a gallery full and all were behind glass. If you wanted a book, it was up to you to find it and if you found it get the librarian to unlock the case and you would take the book, whether you wanted it or not.
The new market house was done in 1876 and the library moved in at once. It soon outgrew this room and also wanted a fire proof building so the park was suggested but many opposed it because it had been donated to the city for park purposes. After it was decided to use the location the building was placed upon the east edge of the park, later when additional room was wanted some of the canal landing was given to the park making the necessary room.
When the old Market house was to be replaced, the question came up what to do with the market while this was doing? There was an iron fence all around the park with a large gate at each corner, but I never heard of the gates being closed for any purpose, and a gravel walk ran diagonally through the park with a fountain in the center.
They then removed the iron fence and it is now upon Wyoming street, leaded into the same base as at the park and serves to keep people from entering Woodland cemetery from the street. The stalls in the old market house were placed just inside of the park and market was held there until the new one was ready probably about a year.
About this time the hay market was moved to Mad River Street from the Public landing along the canal where Patterson Boulevard now runs and that was quite an improvement.