Holton Harcourt Wood
June 19, 1885 – Feb 27, 1897
On December 27th 1902, the Derby Public Library was officially presented and dedicated by Colonel H. Holton and Mrs. Wood in memory of their son, Harcourt, who died February 1897 at the age of eleven. With this opening, Derby ceased to be the only city in Connecticut without a free circulating library. A memorial plaque in Harcourt’s memory is displayed at the front entrance and flowers are placed throughout the library on Harcourt’s birthday.
The Woods made an offer to donate land, building and $5,000 for books provided the city would match funds and promise to upkeep the Library.
1902 – Work began on the library. Hartley Dennett, the architect, focused his design on lasting interior as well as external beauty, which is evident in the Colonial Revival style, Flemish gables, and granite ashlar walls. The original 7,500 square foot building is now listed on the National Historic Register.
1990 – Because of space limitation, plans for renovation and expansion began in 1990. A 7,200 square foot addition was added and carefully matched to the existing structure. Interior restoration work included renovation of the stenciled walls, woodwork and original brass lighting fixtures.
2000 – Derby Public Library is rededicated on May 21, 2000.