Tuesday, May 1, 2012

A New Library Building (1987-1988)

MPL's collections had steadily grown from an initial 1,143 items (1916) to 8,400 items (1937) to 14,500 items (1969) to over 32,000 items (1988).  That last figure certainly justified construction of a new building (1987) within which to house so many materials for public use.

In late spring, 1987, the MPL Board of Trustees, along with several key community figures, broke ground at what would become the new Mooresville Public Library at 220 West Harrison Street.  Click each image to enlarge.

Groundbreaking at the New MPL Construction Site (Late Spring, 1987)
L to R:  Harry Vogel, Norman Connell, Ross Darnell, Carolyn Lindley,
Ron Yates, Miriam Mills, Nina Langley, and "little David Langley"
(as written on the back of the photograph)

Groundbreaking Crew 2 (Late Spring, 1987)
L to R:  [unnamed contractor? from Jungclaus-Campbell], Lavelle Prescott,
Myrtle Keller, Jack Forbes, Steve Edwards, and Bob Porter [architect]
(as written on the back of the photograph)

In May/June, 1987, bulldozing began on the new Library site.  In 2005, when an addition to the 1988 Library was built, the Jessup house (far left, black-and-white photo below) was razed, but doors and cabinets from the home were salvaged and incorporated into the shelving and entry of the MPL Indiana Room, which is appurtenant to the MPL Courtyard (added in 2009).

The 1988 Library seen from approximately the
same angle as the 1987 construction photo above
(Note the white house--the Jessup house--
to the far left in the black-and-white photo)

The new Library building was 12,000 square feet (or three times larger than the MPL Carnegie structure).  Project cost was approximately $800,000.  The land on West Harrison Street was the Library Board's top choice, according to Harry Vogel, a Library Board Trustee at the time.  The 1988 building provided accessibility for disabled patrons and a community meeting room for special programs. Along with the usual areas for children and adults, the 1988 Library also included the Indiana History Room, which was furnished with refinished antique furniture from MPL Carnegie.  Mooresville Savings Bank subsequently purchased and renovated the Carnegie building, which later became First Indiana Bank.

MPL's new home had a long-standing local history.  The land had once been the site of the interurban railway car barns (1902-1930).  Thereafter, Smitherman Hatcheries (1951-1970) occupied the locale, until Miller's Merry Manor, a retirement care facility, was constructed in the 1970s, adjacent to which was built the new Library (1987-1988).

Historic Marker of the Mooresville Interurban
(across from MPL and Miller's)

West Harrison Street in Mooresville

Smitherman Hatcheries (1968)
Located on West Harrison Street at the old Interurban site
(Photo from the Mooresville High School Wagon Trails 1968 Yearbook)

Exactly 72 years after the Carnegie Library was dedicated, the new Library building was dedicated on January 27, 1988.  The last MPL Carnegie patrons were served, and then the great move west was made (about three blocks).  Then, the new Library opened.  It had all happened quickly and smoothly.  There was minimal disruption in library services.  We'll share some photos of this transition in our next installment.

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