The Old Lincoln Library
If you had asked me when I was six what my favorite place was in downtown Springfield, I undoubtedly would have said the Lincoln Library. Well, I might have said the municipal fountain but probably it would have been the library (they were next to each other anyway).
Since we are talking 1966, I am of course referring to Springfield’s old municipal library with all the marble, the large central staircase, the huge grandfather clock, and the glass floors that graced some sections.
I continued my love affair with that building until it was torn down in the mid 1970s. I was a freshman at Griffin High School the year he wrecking ball began to make way for a new, more modern library. I don’t think I understood then just how much I would miss the old building.
Thanks to Russ Friedewald of Springfield Trivia, I am able to post several pictures of the old library.
The first shot is of the front of the building itself.
Next we have the marble staircase and the grandfather clock. This picture doesn’t do justice to how cool that staircase was. Nor do you really get a sense of how dominant the clock was as you climbed the stairs holding the brass handrails.
Then there were the glass floors. These were not everywhere in the building but were pretty cool where they did exist. This picture was taken as the library was being emptied for demolition. Therefore, the books are all gone but you can (sort of) see the glass floors. The supports with the curly ends held the shelves. The mesh cage next to the worker was (as I recall) a book elevator for getting the books up to the second floor.
Finally here is a shot of the interim library used while the new library was being built. It was a storefront on the south part of the Old State Capital Plaza. I recall it being a bit cramped but still functional. I remember reading my first Rolling Stone magazine in there in there about 1975.