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Photo Challenge #263

No one is alive today to remember, but in 1906 the cornerstone was laid for a new Westport Public Library.

Since 1877, residents had had access to books, magazines and newspapers — contributed by their neighbors — on the 2nd floor of the Hurlbutt building on State Street (Post Road). That’s the block between Taylor Place and the entrance to the Taylor parking lot, by the river.

There were very few volumes, however. The public could check out books on Tuesdays and Fridays only.

The 1906 library was a gift from Morris K. Jesup. He donated land opposite the Hurlbutt building — near the corner of the Post Road and Main Street — plus $5,000 for construction.

Two years later — on April 8, 1908 — 300 Westporters turned out for the dedication. Morris Jesup was not there. He had died 4 months earlier.

In 1986 the library moved across Jesup Road — to landfill not there in Jesup’s day. Two renovations later, it is the pride of the town.

But back in another century, so was Jesup’s. The cornerstone still stands, though the building now houses an art gallery and other tenants. (Starbucks and Freshii are in an addition, from the 1950s.)

That cornerstone was last week’s Photo Challenge (click here to see). Dan Vener, Robert Mitchell, Tom Trisch, Christine McCarthy, Chip Stephens, John Hartwell, Elaine Marino, Bobbie Herman, Seth Schachter, Seth Goltzer, Linda Amos, Bruce Salvo, Susan Huppi and Mary Ann Batsell all knew exactly what the photo showed.

You could look it up. But they didn’t have to.

As for this week’s Photo Challenge, here’s a hint: It has nothing to do with a library. Obviously.

(Photo/Susan Ross)

If you know where in Westport you’d see this, click “Comments” below.

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