Gaylord Library, South Hadley Mass

The Gaylord Library on College Street in South Hadley, around 1904-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The library in 2015:

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The epitaph on William Shakespeare’s grave warns that, “cursed be he that moves my bones,” so I suppose it is a good thing that he was never buried here in South Hadley, where the old town cemetery was moved back in 1902 to build a library. Perhaps Shakespeare would’ve approved in the name of literature, but either way the first photograph shows the site of the former cemetery, soon after it was redeveloped as the Gaylord Memorial Library.

This site was originally home to the First Congregational Church of South Hadley as well as the adjoining cemetery, but in 1894 the church burned, along with a small library that was housed inside the church.  Local philanthropist William H. Gaylord offered to donate money to build a library if the graves were moved, and the plan was approved.  The library opened in 1904, and later in the year both William Gaylord and his wife Betsey died, on the same day.  They left an endowment to maintain the library, which operated independently until 1968, when it became a branch of the South Hadley Public Library.  Because of costs, however, it reverted to an independent library in 1995, and is open to the public on a limited schedule, Thursdays through Saturdays.

Pearsons Hall, South Hadley, Mass

Pearsons Hall on the campus of Mount Holyoke College in South Hadley, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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Pearsons Hall in 2015:

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Mount Holyoke College was established in 1837 as the Mount Holyoke Female Seminary, and for most of the 19th century a single building, known as the Seminary Building, housed most of the classrooms and dorm rooms, as well as the library and gymnasium. However, it burned in 1896, and the following year the school built four new dormitories, one of which was Pearsons Hall.  It is named for Dr. D.K. Pearsons, who donated money to the school to help rebuild following the fire.  Today, the building is still there, and it continues to be used as a dormitory for the college.

Civil War Monument, South Hadley, Mass

The Civil War monument on the town common in South Hadley, around 1900-1910. Image courtesy of the Library of Congress, Detroit Publishing Company Collection.

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The monument in 2015:

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There are several things that almost every New England town center has: some sort of a town common, and a Civil War monument on that common. South Hadley is no exception, with its granite statue honoring “the loyalty and patriotism of our citizen soldiers who fought for liberty and the Union in the great rebellion of 1861-1865,” as the inscription on the front reads.  South Hadley had 224 of its citizens fighting in the war, many of whom were probably still living here when the monument was dedicated in 1896.