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The History of the Guernsey Memorial Library

Original Guernsey House

The Guernsey Memorial Library was first housed in the Guernsey Homestead. This home is not only the oldest house, but was also the first frame house built in Norwich. Erected in 1799 by Deacon Elisha Smith, it was sold to Peter B. Garnsey in 1804. In 1807 when Peter and one of his neighbors donated two acres of land for the court house and parks, the Garnsey House was moved to its present location.

It was occupied by the family until 1901 when it became public property by the terms of the will of Mrs. William B. Guernsey. The legal title to the property was passed on to the Board of Education of Union Free School District Number One of the Town of Norwich.

These terms stated “That they shall take and forever keep and maintain the property known as the Guernsey Homestead. . . For the establishment and maintenance of a free public library and park. . . and to be forever held by said Corporation and it’s successors for such purpose and no other and to be known and designated the Guernsey Homestead Memorial Library. . . I particularly direct that in no event shall the grounds here by devised be ever used by such school district for the site for the erection of any school building, or for any other purpose than the erection of a Library Building

Guernsey Memorial Library 2003 In 1967 the Guernsey Homestead was razed due to the house not being safe. The New Library was built on the same site and dedicated March 8, 1969. The Park was dedicated on August 1, 1982.

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