Eldredge Public Library
Libraries Non-Profit Organizations
The Eldredge Public Library (EPL) was a gift to the people of Chatham from one of its natives, Marcellus Eldredge, who was a successful businessman and legislator in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, yet retained close ties to his home town. In 1894 he purchased land on Main Street for $1,000. Construction of the new library took a year and cost about $30,000.
Architect Albion M. Marble of Fall River, a student of H. H. Richardson, designed the original 67' by 34' building in the Renaissance/Romanesque Revival Style, with Quincy granite foundation, red West Barnstable brick walls with pink mortar, Longmeadow brownstone trim, a slate roof with terra cotta cresting, and eyebrow dormers. The interior was finished with quartered oak wainscoting, a carved oak fireplace mantle, Italian marble mosaic in the vestibule, and two stained glass windows with solid medallion facsimiles of the marks of L. Giunta and Aldus, both early Italian book crafters.
Meanwhile, the EPL was legally established as a corporation ''for the formation and maintenance of a public library in Chatham.'' Five men (including Marcellus Eldredge) and their successors were named as corporation members. The Library was dedicated in formal ceremonies on July 4, 1896, and opened to the public a week later.