Built in 1923, the Lucius Beebe Memorial Library in Wakefield, Mass., was named after its first library commissioner, and former resident of the Beebe Homestead.
It was designed by Ralph Adams Cram, who was one of America’s best Gothic architects, a writer and an art critic. Cram’s works include several buildings at Princeton University, and more than 100 churches across the country.
The first library was formed in 1856 and was hosted in the old Town House, then in town hall for many years, but outgrew both spaces. Lucius’ son, Junius Beebe, donated $60,000 for the official library to be built and dedicated to the memory of his parents.
The younger Beebe was a leather merchant, banker, and a town benefactor. Construction had to wait until after the end of World War I, and Beebe increased his donation to $200,000. The building ultimately cost $225,000.
It was one of the first libraries to devote one of its two main reading rooms to children’s literature.