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History of Rochester Public Library – Chapter 1

April 20, 2012

The Rochester Library Association 1865-1898

Ireland's Bookstore

Ireland’s bookstore in the Heaney Block.

A meeting was called on December 28, 1865 for the purpose of establishing a library. This meeting, as near as can be ascertained, was attended by C.H. Chadburn, Rodney Whitney, Lewis Walker, O.P. Whitcomb, W.W. Mayo, W.D. Hurlburt and others, and resulted in the organization of the Rochester Library Association.




Charles H. Chadbourn

This is Charles Henry Chadbourn. He came to Rochester in 1860 and incorporated Rochester National Bank in 1876. He was president of the Rochester Library Association until 1887 when he moved to Minneapolis.

At the second meeting of the Rochester Library Association on January 8, 1866, the group, J.D. Blake, O.B. Whitcomb, W.W. Mayo, R. Whiting, and W. D. Hurlburt served as the executive committee. They adopted a constitution and rented a reading room in W.W. Ireland’s bookstore.

In January of 1866, the sum of $1,000.00 was raised by subscription from Hurlburt, Mayo, John R. Cook, H.T. Horton and Judge O.P. Stearns for the purchase of 1000 books,which were housed in Ireland’s Bookstore.

An article in the August 1876 Rochester Post noted that negotiations had been in progress for some time for the consolidation of the Rochester Library and the Free Reading Room. The Library at that time was still in Ireland’s Store and the Free Reading Room was in the basement of the Post Office, which at that time was in the Odd Fellows Building on 2nd St.

William Worrall Mayo

This is Dr. William Worrall Mayo. He came to Rochester in 1863 as a surgeon for Union Army volunteers. He also served on the Rochester Library Association board.


John D. Blake

This is John D. Blake. He came to Rochester in 1861 and opened a dry goods store which became J.D. Blake Co. in 1865. He was also part of the Rochester Library Association.

Ozora P. Stearns

This is Ozora P. Stearns - a local judge and one of the early funders of the original $1,000 for the Rochester Library Association in 1866.

John R. Cook

John R. Cook was the first president of the First National Bank in Rochester and one of the original funders of the first $1,000 used to purchase books for the Rochester Library Association. This photo was taken in 1864.

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