About the Library
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This stately Greek Revival building with its majestic Ionic columns and elegant cupola, was designed by Captain Isaac Damon and built on Main Street in 1815-1816. The building served as the county courthouse until 1868 when the county seat was moved to Pittsfield. In 1871, Mrs. Adeline Schermerhorn, a wealthy summer resident, purchased the building for use as a “public library and reading room free to all visitors and inhabitants of Lenox.”
The Lenox Library Association, incorporated in 1856, moved into the building in 1874, and the space has been operating as a library since that date. Beginning in the 1890s, the building also housed Lenox’s only town doctor, the town’s first telephone switchboard and fire alarm system. (Within its walls, it even contained both a jail and the offices of the Lenox National Bank.) Today, the Library is designated a National Register Historic Building.
Mrs. Schermerhorn’s contribution marked the beginning of the long and fruitful relationship between the “cottages” and the Library. From the mid-19th through the early 20th century, well-known families such as the Vanderbilts, Carnegies, Sloanes, Morgans and Westinghouses established imposing summer homes here, making the name “Lenox” synonymous with culture and style. Even during these early years the Library functioned as an important civic center for the whole community.