This small unassuming patch of land harbors two treasures in the rich historical fabric of our town, the Rock Harbor Academy and the original Snow Library.
Rock Harbor Academy
In 1827, a group of citizens who wanted a place of higher learning in the town established what is now referred to as Rock Harbor Academy. This private school was to instruct students who had completed the Towns public schools were also trained here.
A stand-out alumnus of the Academy was Captain Joseph D. Taylor, who became famous as a Boston ship builder of record setting clipper ships. Taylor retired to his Orleans home, now the Barley Neck Inn.
The Academy building was simple, with a classroom on the first floor and an assembly hall on the second. When the Academy was discontinued in the mid 1850s, the building was moved to River Rd, where it still stands as a private residence.
In 1876, David Snow bequeathed to Orleans the sum of $5000 for a public library "to be open to people of said town, at all proper hours , to be called Snow's Library." This bequest required the Town to provide a suitable building with proper conveniences to accommodate its citizens. The Town chose this site, just in front of the former Rock Harbor Academy, and constructed an English Gothic building
of sandstone and brick in 1877. A portion of David Snow's bequest was used to purchase books.
This landmark burned to the ground on the evening of February 25, 1952 during an intense blizzard. In less than 3 weeks, Snow Library reopened in the home of Frank H. Snow at the junction of routes 6A and 28, with more than 1000 books donated from libraries and people all over New England and as far as away as Africa and Hawaii. After intense work by the Trustees and a building committee, the library that stands on the Village Green across the street was erected. The building was dedicated on July 4, 1954.