18 Main Street
Lenox, Massachusetts 01240
Building was built about 1815 as the Second County Courthouse. "In 1871, the Greek Revival former courthouse building was purchased for use as a 'public library and reading room free to all visitors and inhabitants of Lenox.'" (From Our History, library webpage.)
The second floor houses the many collections, including a special room for their Special Collections pertaining to history and some genealogy.
"Added to the National Historic Register in 1973, the building was most recently renovated to its original grandeur in 2002-2004. The original court room, with its exquisite domed ceiling, was reconstructed after a century in which the second story had been reconfigured beyond recognition."
I was lucky to meet the Reference librarian, who kindly opened the Special Collections Room for me, to see where the genealogy and local history books are kept, and allowed me to take photos. In addition, she printed out the below paragraph from History of Lenox by George H. Tucker, printed in 1992 by the Lenox Library Association. I believe they are in the process of updating this book. I did a quick search to see where I could locate it near the Boston area, and www.WorldCat.org had no listings, so, it is a rare book, and I was lucky to get the paragraph about my ancestors. Both father and son were buried in Lenox at the Church on the Hill Cemetery. NOTE: See listing of all those buried at the Church on the Hill Cemetery, aka Little Church on a Hill Cemetery.
"Capt. Oliver Belden, father of Levi Belden, was born in Wethersfield, Connecticut, November 17, 1732, and died in Lenox, September 16, 1811. He was a prominent man in Lenox in the early years of the town. He was selectman and assessor many times and represented Lenox in the Legislature in the years 1805-06 and 1809. He was a member of the congregational church. He lived in the northwest part of the town on the road which leads to the Pleasant Valley Bird and Wild Flower Sanctuary, near the junction of the road which goes west from the Pittsfield Road, from about where Burke's in the Berkshires Inn is, and the road which comes from the north passing the entrance to the Metz place. This house, occupied for many years by his grandson, was destroyed by fire over thirty years ago.
Signed Non-Consumption and Non-Importation Agreement, 1774."
The extensive and varied Special Collections held by the Library range from Colonial Era manuscripts, legal documents and publications through original photographic prints and glass plate negatives to illustrated and annotated early 18th and 19th century volumes, including literary first editions and art and children’s books.
Photo of an early Lenox map.
Love old card catalogues.
First view of the Library as we walked to it, on a perfect October 2017 day.
If you are in this area, I highly suggest seeing Ventfort. I wrote a blog about it, and you'll see why I'm recommending a visit.
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