Municipality
 
 

The Public Library

In 1884 the people of Paterson voted in favor of a public library. Five citizens were appointed by the mayor and they began work by renting a building on Church street, between Market and Ellison streets. The Stimson house where the library was opened soon became overgrown and 5 years later came the offer of a new site. Mrs. Mary E. Ryle, the daughter of Charles Danforth, one of the prominent locomotive builders of Paterson, and widow of William Ryle, a wealthy silk importer, wanted to do something in memory of her father. The residence occupied by the Danforth family for many years stood on the northeast corner of Market and Church streets. This Mrs. Ryle offered to give to the library trustees and of course her offer was gratefully accepted. The only condition Mrs. Ryle made was that the library should be named after her father and to this day it is known as the Danforth Free Public Library. Mrs. Ryle, however, was not satisfied with what she had done and so she paid all the expenses incurred in making her former home a convenient place for a library. When the building and its contents were destroyed in the fire of 1902, and the trustees decided to put up a new building on Broadway, Auburn and Van Houten streets, Mrs. Ryle contributed one hundred thousand dollars towards paying the expenses.


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