Booth and Dimock Memorial Library
The Booth an. Dimock Memorial Library, was dedicated on Friday, October 24, 1913. The Construction of this new building in 1912 was the result of a $40,000 bequest by Henry Dimock in memory of his grandfather, Rev. Chauncey Booth, minister of the First Congregational Church of Coventry, and his father, Timothy Dimock MD. The classically detailed Georgian Revival building, a distinguished example of 20th century architecture, was designed by New York architect James M. Darrach. The building firm of Cruikshank and Fraser of New York City erected the building.
Much controversy surrounded the building of the new library site since the stately colonial homestead of Thomas Clark had to be torn down. A meeting was held in August 1911, with Mrs. Susan Whitney Dimock, to discuss the details of the purchase of the Clark homestead, then owned by Dwight H. Clark. When it was determined that the purchase did not involve town funding, the misunderstandings were resolved and the construction began. The townspeople were delighted with the new building which included a large reading room, fireplaces and room for many volumes of books. On the grounds of the library were tennis courts, a fine toque court, an up to date croquet court and a new game, clock golf. The grounds of the library were
greatly admired and enjoyed by the residents.
In 1987-89 a large 12,340 square foot expansion of the library building took place with a combination of $1,740,000 in funds from the Town of Coventry, State of Connecticut and the Federal Government. The architect was Felix Drury and Zlatnick Construction Company was the contractor. The new addition was dedicated on November 19, 1989. The original front entrance was duplicated and changed to the right hand side adjoining the expanded parking lot. An elevator was installed for easy access to the lower level. The 1913 tower clock was restored. All of the services of the library were expanded to include computer stations, large meeting room/art gallery and children's library.
The South Coventry Library Association was organized in 1880. Books were loaned for a small yearly fee until 1906 when the Town of Coventry voted to provide $100.00 annually toward operating expenses.
By 1894 the library was housed in a small building, formally the post office, which stood directly across Mason Street next to the AW Wellwood Store. The library building was purchased by the South Coventry Library Association after a California physician, Dr. Henry D. Cogswell donated $500.00, to be matched by local funds, for the creation of a library. His gift was in appreciation of the care he received when, as a homeless 10 year
old child, he was befriended and cared for by kindly Coventry women. ( photo captions )
- This 1915 postcard shows the new library building with wide walkways leading to the stately entrance.
- The Thomas Clark Homestead torn down in 1911, amid controversy, to provide a site for the new Booth and Dimock Memorial Library.
- The first library building, formerly the Post Office, was purchased by the South Coventry Library Association in 1894.