The Library at the End of the State

By Kevin D.

The Niagara Falls Public Library is built in the brutalist style of the Yale School of Architecture and Boston’s New City Hall: it LOOKS like a factory of knowledge and for a City of then 70k people (in 1970), now for 45,000 denizens, it is still an imposingly massive yet welcoming repository of wisdom. In 1984 I was in 8th grade and writing a “history” of the city of Niagara Falls. I went to the Library and asked to see The Historian, which was like asking to see The Mighty Oz. I was led by a massive, uniformed guard up the winding red stairs, past many red-ropes to where he sat, old, bespectacled, kindly. He produced maps, ledgers, blueprints of bridges (one of which had collapsed into the Niagara Straits– the “Niagara River” was a misnomer, he explained– then pulled out at least a half-dozen different Niagara Falls Newspapers (even in 1984 Niagara Falls had been reduced to just one). I got an A+ on the paper. And for the life of me I can’t remember the name of the in-house historian, but he was so generous with his time and memory, I hope I remembered to thank him.

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