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The Utica Public Library, Utica, NY

We love the Utica Public Library. I don’t go as often as I’d like (I just hate city traffic), so when we do visit, it’s a real treat. The Utica Public Library just oozes history and gorgeous architecture. HOW on earth did they make such beautiful, enormous buildings 100+ years ago?! And why did they stop making them?

Utica Public Library

Utica Public Library Entrance

I took 53 photos of the Library, inside and out. While I would love to post them all here for you to see, I think that it might overwhelm my blog’s loading time! So I’ll post the relevant ones and if you are curious to see more, you can visit my Flickr photo set of the Utica Library here.

The Utica Public Library was built in 1904. The property was given to the city by two of Utica’s most famous philanthropists, Thomas R. Proctor and Frederick T. Proctor. They were brothers who had married sisters from another wealthy Utica family. The home of Thomas Proctor and Maria Williams is across the street– it’s a living museum and we have visited it several times. It’s called Fountain Elms. You can read about our visit, here.

The entrance is quite grand. A vestibule was built, I suppose to make the heating of the building more economical. The building must cost a fortune to maintain and heat. I’d heard that recent roof repairs had cost the city of Utica $100,000+.

Pillars at Entrance

Looking up to the second floor.

Looking Up 1

I climbed the stairs to the second floor for more photos. The place is just so beautiful.

Library Staircase

Ionic Columns

Balcony Ceiling

Balcony Bookcases

The Utica Public Library has a very fine selection of books, especially non-fiction books. We use the library’s books a lot because we do a lot of research into local and American history. And the staff is the most competent, friendliest people I’ve ever known in a library system. The Library has an excellent collection of biographies. They also have a special genealogy room filled with very old books and records that we may peruse. The collection is remarkable. And they also have a music room with shelves and shelves of sheet music (some of it quite old) and books. This is all on top of the contemporary collections of children’s books and movies, computers, reference materials, periodicals, and more. But I love the Library for their excellent history resources. It’s like a treasure trove to someone like me, who is a genealogist and history-lover.

Rows of Books

Glass Block Floors

The upper floors are made of glass blocks. You can see through them, somewhat, to the floor below. It’s kind of creepy, walking on glass floors that are over 100 years old…

I’ll have more posts about the library, showcasing the gorgeous architecture and rich history. What a terrific Library!

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About the Author

I've been traveling throughout New York State since I got the travel bug after touring the Herkimer Home on a school field trip as a youngster. We've been blogging about our travels since 2006 and have visited over half of New York's 62 counties so far.

Comments (6)

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  1. Strikeslip says:

    Wow! You did a great job with your photos of the Library, highlighting a lot of detail that sometimes gets overlooked.

    Those glass floors always intrigued me . . . It’s kind of funny when someone is walking overhead — you can hear their footsteps and watch the shadows of the bottoms of their shoes walk down the hall — like watching a ghost. What a great idea for letting natural sunlight into the stacks. . . something I don’t remember seeing anyplace else.

  2. sargecharlie says:

    Great Photos. Happy New Year.

  3. Jena Isle says:

    These are awesome pictures. But it seems there are no visitors? Libraries are visited very rarely now that online information is available. But these “buildings of knowledge” serve as a monument for those who have written the books.

    Thanks for sharing and happy new year!

  4. Wow. . . the photographs of the Utica Library are amazing. What a beautiful place. Thanks for sharing it.

  5. Strike, that must be quite the memory!

    Sarge– hey thanks! You also. 🙂

    Jena– the library was quite busy, but I avoid getting people in my photos. So that’s why they always look so empty!

    And thanks, koe. I agree, it is amazing. There are a lot of buildings like this one, just as old and beautiful, still in use today. New York has a rich heritage.

  6. Marlene Davis says:

    I just want to know if you have sheet music for piano that I can check out. Also it has been years since I have been to the Library, I have a card but can not find it. With identification will I be able to check out information?