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Timeline of the Hanover Town/Etna Library

From Homes, To Hall, to Library

I. Private Book Collections

1801 - The story of the Hanover Town Library began in 1801. The community at that time was called "Mill Village" because of its location along a half-mile of the the original "two mile road" on the banks of the Mink Brook, whose falls powered a grist mill, a sawmill, and a filling and cloth-drying mill. A state charter incorporated the First Social Library of Hanover, whose collection moved from house-to-house as different members took charge

1819 - Town members chartered the Second Library Association of Hanover, gathering over 700 volumes. At first, it was kept in a member's house but later resided in the hall over the store in Etna, where town meetings were held.

1835 - The "Hanover, Lebanon, and Canaan Philosophical Library" was chartered with a collection that migrated among the three towns.

1883 - The Etna Library and Debating Society was organized; one of its members was paid $5 a year for housing the 300 books in the collection.

II. The New Hampshire Library Act

1891 - The NH legislature passed the Library Act, allocating a sum not exceeding $100 to towns that provided for the "care, custody and distribution of books furnished" by such a gift.

1898 - The Town of Hanover voted to accept the gift of $100 of books for the state and established a public library according to the provisions of the library law with the name of Hanover Town Library.

1899 - The Hanover Town Library opened in Hayes' Hall with a collection of about 400 books donated by the state, the Etna Debating Club's donation of their collection, and a donation of books by Edward Payton Storrs, owner of the Dartmouth bookstore.

III. Building a Library

1903 and 1905 - The Town voted an appropriation of  $2,600, of which $2,100 was to be used for building a library, and a $500 permanent fund, the income to be used for the support of the library.


1905 - The Town of Hanover approved plans for a new one-room library, 25-by-33 feet, with ceiling, vestibule and door of varnished hazelwood and a vault. Robert Fletcher, Dartmouth Thayer professor and library trustee, drew up the blueprint. A fireproof vault was added by special town vote. Fine-cut granite steps and a portico were donated by Mr. Henry C. Whipple in memory of the late John W. Dodge. Total cost of the building was a little over $2,800.

March 10, 1906 - Library books were moved from Hayes Hall to the new building. E.H. Wright donated a solid oak desk, office chair, eight-foot table, six chairs and an umbrella stand.

IV. A Growing Library

1932 - Electric lighting was installed.

1953 - An oil burning furnace replaced the wood stove.

1965 - The death of Kathrina (Aunt Pat) Spencer, former librarian and teacher, brought $82 as a fund for children's books. Also, a $1,000 bequest received from Adelaide Hardy began an endowment fund. From this same estate, gifts of a sampler, worsted flowers, a small print picture and a flax wheel enhanced the library interior.

1978-83 - Indoor plumbing was installed and a bathroom built in the vault.

1996 - The library's collection was added to the Howe Library catalog when the two joined as the Libraries of Hanover partnership.

1997 - The library was placed on the National Register of Historic Places.

2010 - The Town of Hanover purchased Hayes Farm Park from the heirs of Morris and Ethel Hayes.

2014 - A sunny post-and-beam entrance was added and a lilac garden was planted at the base of the path to the Nan and Allen King bird sanctuary.

Thank you to all of our donors for the Hayes land purchase and library addition!

[Resources: Lord's History of Hanover; Town of Hanover Annual Reports.]

A post card showing the library soon after it was constructed.

Library Postcard

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Thomas Praddex, First Librarian

A blueprint of the library.

Library Blueprints

An old black and white photograph showing the sawmill that used to be near the library.

Sawmill Across from Library

Photograph showing the construction of the library's addition.

Library Addition Construction

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Old Photograph of the Library Interior

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