History

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Pictured above: Dr. William Wood, father of Wood founder, William R. Wood

 

Wood Memorial Library was built in 1927 by William R. Wood, a farmer, cattle dealer, and lifelong bachelor. He built the library in memory of his parents, Dr. William Wood and Mary Ellsworth Wood, and their portraits hang on opposite sides of the main first-floor room of the library. Although the colonial-revival building resembles a house, it was always used as a library, with book collections on the first floor and performance space on the second floor. After building it, William R. Wood presented it to the town of South Windsor, along with an endowment to fund the library’s operations. He provided the building fully furnished, down to the plates and silverware.

In 1964, a collection of Native American artifacts was put on permanent display in one of the upstairs rooms, and the building was renamed Wood Memorial Library & Museum. The Wood also has a permanent display of mounted birds in the first-floor Albert Morgan room, paintings and furniture on the first and second floors, and a rotating exhibit space in the basement gallery.

Wood Library was a town library until 1970, when the Town of South Windsor decided to stop operating the Wood as a branch library. A group of local residents, upset at the loss of their local library, got together and incorporated as the Friends of Wood Library. In 1971, the Friends reopened the building to the public as a privately-funded organization.

In 1976, an addition was added to the library to house more books; in 1990, an archives was added; and in 2007, a second small addition was built to add an elevator and make the building ADA compliant.

The Wood is listed on the National Register of Historic Places as part of the Windsor Farms Historic District.

Today, with part-time staff and a corps of dedicated volunteers, the library serves the public throughout the year, honoring Will Wood’s wish to provide a library as well as an environment for cultural, historical, and scientific interests to flourish.

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