The Library at the End of the State

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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.Nike

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