Skip to content

Old Public Library - 26 Center Street

Files & Documents >> Visitor Documents >> Walking Tours (text) >> Old Public Library - 26 Center Street

1B. Old Public Library - 26 Center Street

Next  Blue Tour List

Interest in a public library began in 1913, and President Hill of the Collins Company offered use of the basement of the Collins Company office building at a nominal rent. The library opened later that year with 650 books. This building, opened in 1920, was presented by Helen R. Collins in memory of her husband Howard and the soldiers and sailors of Canton.  Mr. Collins was Samuel Collins’ son. An addition was constructed in the early 1970’s. The building is a typical early 20th century masonry style with classical detailing. Now it is a lawyers’ office.
On the corner is a bronze plaque embedded in stone honoring Jasper H. Bidwell who gave the land to the Canton Soldiers Memorial Association in 1908. Bidwell was the first man from town to enlist in the Civil War and later became President of the ill-fated Canton Trust Company. 

The library site was previously occupied by a massive two story frame building built as a Methodist Church in 1868. Services were held until about 1885 when it was converted into an opera house and also used for town meetings and voting. It was torn down in 1905 because it was considered unsafe.