For 87 years, the North Monmouth Library operated on Main Street – a bright yellow box of a building that drew children like Shelia Sanford with its promise of newspapers and comics.
“When I was a little girl, I used to go to the library,” said Sanford, now 75. “It was a central place in those days. Everybody went to the library.”
When Sanford said that in January, the Maine Historic Preservation Commission was considering placing the North Monmouth Library on the National Register of Historic Places.
Now it has done so, according to Kirk Mohney, the commission’s director.
“This designation indicates that the property has been documented, evaluated, and considered worthy of preservation and protection as part of the nation’s cultural heritage,” Mohney said in a statement.
The North Monmouth Library was designed by Harry Cochrane, the artist and architect whose most notable local creation is Cumston Hall in downtown Monmouth – which currently houses the Cumston Public Library.
After the North Monmouth Library closed to the public in 2014, it came under the care of the Monmouth Museum and has also received a new roof and a paint job that recalls its original coloring.
Sanford is president of Monmouth Museum and also was involved with the North Monmouth Library.
The library was built between 1926 and 1927 on land donated by the Winthrop Mill Co., according to Mohney. “The library retains its Palladian windows, portico, interior finishes and design,” he said.
Besides the prestige that comes from landing on the National Register of Historic Places, there are benefits for properties on the list.
Any projects that affect the properties are subject to input from the national Advisory Council on Historic Preservation. Owners of the properties can receive tax provisions.
Sanford said the museum will begin storing reference and history books there in the spring.
The 225th anniversary of Monmouth’s incorporation is this year, Sanford said, and the museum might hold some sort of ceremony to celebrate local history.