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Crozer Library, Engle St. 2001; Photo courtesy of "Joker" Jack Chambers
Crozer Library, Engle St., Fall 2001
Photo courtesy of "Joker" Jack Chambers

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Chester Library, 9th Street,  c. 1928, demolished April 1963

J. Lewis Crozer Library From the 1949 Chester Times year book:

J. Lewis Crozer Library

118 East Broad (9th) St. 35,000 volumes (estimated). 

Gertrude Hewes, Librarian.
Elizabeth McCartney, assistant librarian;

Young people’s library, second floor, 12,000 volumes (estimated). 

Mrs. Constance Morley Fussell, Librarian of Young People’s Library.

Members of the board are:

E. Wallace Chadwick, President

Charles P. Larkin, Jr., Secretary and treasurer

S. Lloyd Irving, Charles L. Flounders, William S. Blakeley, Jr. James W. Lukens, Louise MacFariane, George B. Harvey, Dr. Charles E. Batten, Dr. J. William Wood, Mrs. Walter Palmer, Jane Provost, Wesley J. McDowell, Jack B. Thompson and Laura Dougherty.

In 1975 the J. Lewis Crozer Library was located in Deshong Park. This library was closed in that location in January 1978.

"I will never forget those SQUEAKY floors on the second deck (upstairs) in what I thought was THE Chester library on 9th Street. God Bless the librarian, those floors must have driven her out of her mind!!

As much as I hated going to the 9th street (main) library, I sure wish it was still there !! I hated it only because it meant "homework".

Thanks to
- Dave Gluck, D2yo2solo2@cs.com 

"Anyone remember Miss Fusel--the librarian at Crozer Library across from Larkin School? She had a Friday, after-school reading group/story time. Took great interest in kids who used the library. This was in the '40s. Spent many a cold winter night in the silence of that sanctuary. Made a reader out of me."

-Anonymous Guest Book entry left at "The Newsstand" 8/28/2001

West End Branch Library South Chester Town Hall / West End Branch Library; Courtesy of AJSweetyPy@aol.com

J. Lewis Crozier Library
3rd and Jeffrey Street
Chester, Pennsylvania

The West End Free Library opened January 4, 1909

Early Librarians:

Miss Mary H. Davis (first librarian, worked for over 3 years)
Miss Susie E. Black (8/1/1912-8/28/1913)
Miss Mary H. Jones (10/28/1913-1915)
Miss Myrtle C. Lehman (1915-1920)
Miss Anna A. Hannum (1920-1934-1949-?)

From the 1949 Chester Times year book:

West End Branch of J. Lewis Crozer Library 

Fourth and Jeffrey sts. 10,000 volumes (estimated)
Anna A. Hannum, Librarian

"My grandmother, Lelia Ridgeway, was the children’s librarian at the J. Lewis Crozier Library - West Branch from 1935 to 1965 (estimated). She continued with the library when it was moved to the Deshong building on Edgmont Avenue and retired around 1976. While a student at Dewey Mann Junior High School (Mr. Vaul, Principal), I remember doing my homework and research at the adjacent library and feeling proud that my grandmother, Mrs. Ridgeway, was the librarian. As grandson, I took the liberty to explore the library to include the basement. The remains of jail cells stood among piles of coal stored for the furnace. Mrs. Ridgeway scheduled classes from nearby elementary schools to tour the library and lean how to use the card catalog and other library resources. I can still hear her admonish children for dirty hands and chewing gum. The library had closely spaced large windows on all sides allowing natural light to bathe the large room, free of partitions. Display cabinets between the windows housed plastic models of airplanes, cars, and boats – mostly military.

"Miss Anna Hannum was the librarian for adults located on the first floor. At fifty-cents an hour, my first job was shelving books in the J. Lewis Crozier Library-West Branch. I can vividly recall the sturdy oak tables and chairs on both floors. The hardwood floors emitted a strong aroma of oil-soaked wood. An old “Regulator” clock moved ever so slowly to my quitting time of 8:00 p.m. The first floor (adult library) desk was situated behind a banister railing to the left of the front entrance. On the desk was a 4 X 18 inch rectangular box used to file cards for books checked out of the library. An Underwood Typewriter, protected by a clear plastic cover, was used to type new cards and library correspondence."

- David A. Carpenter - July 25, 2003

The following article from an unidentified publication, written by Keith Lockhart, was passed along to us by AJSweetyPY@aol.com:

Were Three Chesters Better Than One?

The South Chester Town Hall was located on the South East corner of Fourth and Jeffrey Streets and was built in 1879 at a cost of $3,500. The Borough Council met in the Hall on the second Monday evening of each month. The basement was for the confinement of prisoners, and the first floor for the meetings of council and hearings by the burgess, and the second floor for public meetings.

The surrounding half a square area was laid out as a public park. South Chester Borough was incorporated in 1870, and only existed as a borough for twenty-eight years. The big day in South Chester was October 27, 1879. The council minutes of that date describes the first council meeting in the new town hall. "A special meeting of the council was held this date in the new chambers, Burgess D. F. Houston presiding."

The building committee reported as follows. Contract for construction of building by S. Montgomery $2,950. Extras after building construction, $583.87; total cost of building, $3,533.87; itemized furnishing $1,900. and the report mentions a lightning rod for $75.00. The Iron Workers Savings and Loan Association also met there on Saturday evenings some thirty years ago to collect payments. The building's last official use was as the West End branch of J. Lewis Crozer Library, which was closed in August of 1961. Since that time, the building had remained empty, and in June 1966, it was torn down for the low bid of $1,300.

"I would like to add Mrs. Ridgeway's name to the list of librarians at the West End Library. This was in the time frame 1940's to 1950's."

- Don Hubickey

"the West End Branch of the Chester Library (now located at Memorial Park), was originally located at the corner of 9th and Booth St.  I remember Mrs. Johnson as the librarian.  We used to go there often as children and they had some wonderful summer programs; reading circles, story times and fun projects to do. Mrs. Johnson was there for years and was a wonderful lady."

Terry McHugh

Lindsey Law Library From the 1949 Chester Times Year Book:


Crozer Building, Chester

Dora A. Gilbert - Librarian

Board Members are: 

Paul Lane Ives - president
George B. Harvey - Vice President
John F. Mushsam, secretary and treasurer
J. DeHaven Ledward, Guy G. deFuria and J. H. Ward Hinkson.

Meetings are held at 3 pm the third Monday in the library rooms

The current address of the Lindsay Law Library is:

Widener University
Lindsay Law Library 
1 University Pl
Chester, PA 19013-5700 

Phone: (610) 499-4031

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If you have any information and or pictures that you would like to contribute about libraries in Chester, please forward it to john@oldchesterpa.com

© 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004 John A. Bullock III.

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This page last updated 10/18/05

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