By MOLLY HONE
For Montclair Local
“History & Heritage” is a series on Montclair history, written by representatives of the
Montclair History Center and the Montclair Public Library. Molly Hone is head of adult services at the Montclair Public Library.
This photograph was taken on October 22, 1955, presumably by someone with the last name “Paxton,” judging by the inscription on the back. It depicts two people — library staff, or perhaps volunteers — packing up boxes at the library’s building at 73 Church St.
The building, now part of the Unitarian Universalist Congregation at Montclair, was the Main Library’s third location and “purpose-built” location, as the first location was in the office of Dr. John H. Love and the second was in the Munn Tavern. Opening in 1904, the Church Street building served the community for fifty years until it was time to expand. This building was also where the 1940 documentary “Portrait of a Library” was filmed. The 23-minute documentary gives us a glimpse into library services in the 1940s and is available to watch for free on our YouTube channel — @MontclairLib.
So why is this photo filled with boxes upon boxes? The efficient packers in this aerial shot are getting ready to bring items over to the library’s fourth building at 50 South Fullerton Ave., where MPL still is today. This building was constructed in 1955, and renovated and expanded in 1997, and another renovation is in the planning stages. The inscription offers insight into the labeling logistics of the move: “Cartons, as packed, were sealed, marked with splotches of mystic tape of the proper color (torn by hand from the roll) and were numbered.”
To see more historic photographs, including the library’s various locations (search “first building,” “second building” and so on), visit digifind-it.com/montclair/home.php and search the photo collection.To see morearchival material, contact the library us to make a local history appointment at email@example.com or 973-744-0500 x2235. It is also open 24/7 online at e.montclairlibrary.org.