Lane Memorial Library Celebrates 100th Anniversary of Building

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By Liz Premo

Hampton Union, Tuesday, December 14, 2010

[The following article is courtesy of the Hampton Union and Seacoast Online.]

1910 Lane Memorial Library, Hampton, N.H.

HAMPTON -- A red carpet bordered by two rows of flickering paper bag lanterns led more than 50 guests to the former front door of the Lane Memorial Library on Saturday night.

Inside, they celebrated the 100th anniversary of the library's original building at a festive gala, complete with a triple-tiered birthday cake.

The fund-raiser was hosted by staff members with assistance from the Friends of the Lane Memorial Library and the Hampton Historical Society. Proceeds raised go toward refurbishing the library's New Hampshire Room.

The festivities included a welcome by Library Director Amanda Reynolds-Cooper and Friends' Treasurer Susan Hughes, both dressed in period costume and accessories courtesy of Tracy Theatre Originals.

"We're trying to give people the feel of what it was like in 1910," said Hughes, the smooth sounds of the Mr. Clean Jazz Trio flowing throughout the library's rooms and around the book stacks.

Guests enjoyed a delicious array of homemade hors d'oeuvres prepared by Children's Room assistant Wendy Rega. A selection of wines from four area wineries was poured by volunteer sommeliers that included Gerhard Blume and Pete Ginieres.

The historical connection between past and present was evident, from the society's photographic display of the library's origins to the wedding gown worn by Jessie Merrill when she married Christopher Toppan in October 1910.

Adult Services Librarian Darrell Eifert and his wife, Ruth, took old-time photos, giving guests an opportunity to take a fashionable step back in time in hats and outerwear.

"I just love the hats from that era," said library Friend and volunteer Sharon Chang. "It's too bad women don't wear hats anymore."

Selecting a pink, wide-brimmed, flower-trimmed hat, Chang posed for a photo with her husband, Albert, who wore a red duster-style driving coat and held a black top hat.

"Look stern and foreboding!" Eifert joked, as he snapped the couple's picture, a $15 investment in the library's future.

Even the silent auction items rang historical and included Lois Stapley paintings of "Salt Hay Stacked on the Marshes" and "Holman's Wayside Farm," a sandwich glass oil lamp, antique books and a handmade splint basket.

"New Hampshire and New England have a lot of deep history," said Reynolds-Cooper, noting that comparatively "100 years may not (be a lot), but this building has always been the public library, and that's what makes it special."

The original library was built for an estimated $15,000 by Howard G. Lane in memory of his father, Joshua Lane. Howard's gift to the town was celebrated at a dedication ceremony held across the street at the Congregational Church on Dec. 14, 1910.

Assistant Director Bill Teschek, who has been on staff for 31 years, recalled how the New Hampshire Room once served as "an office with a couple of desks." Further into the building was "a reference room, chairs and a seating area," and "a coal furnace way in the back" of the lower level, where the current Dorothy Little Room once served as the Children's Room.

As for the future of the New Hampshire Room, Reynolds-Cooper said funds raised will go toward window treatments, carpeting, new reading chairs and finishing the wrap-around built-in wall shelves.

If enough funds remain, she would like to have the chimney of the room's fireplace lined, "so we can have fireside chats."

In the meantime, a historically good time was enjoyed by all at what Reynolds-Cooper declared to be "a worthwhile evening."

To learn more about Lane Memorial Library, visit www.hampton.lib.nh.us.

Head of Children's Services Paulina Shadowens and part-time library substitute staffer Maurine Cullen share an Edwardian hat during the 100th anniversary celebration of the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton Saturday night.
[Ioanna Raptis photo]
Sharon Chang of Hampton checks her reflection in the mirror before posing for an "old time" portrait in costume of the dress of 1910 to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the Lane Memorial Library in Hampton Saturday night. A photo studio was set up in the library and costumes were available to pose for sepia-toned photos.
[Ioanna Raptis photo]
For more photos, click here:
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