A Work In Progress…
The grounds of the Library have always been a beautiful feature of the property, even from the beginning. A report of the Library’s Garden Committee in 1934 states:
“When the Library was first started, the Grounds Committee had a thrilling time, cutting down trees, trimming up trees, carting away loads and loads of refuse, plowing up the grounds and reseeding them. Building a fence around the property, also building the back porch and steps and painting them and bringing in stones from the “Raggeds” for the walks. Planting the spruce hedge to shut off the cemetery. Putting in flower borders along the south side of the property and around the house, and furnishing tables, seats and birdbaths for the grounds.”
After the latest restoration of the interior of the Library, it was decided to divide the grounds into two main areas to accommodate various functions. The Formal Garden encompasses the front of the Library and the section that runs beside the building, along Regent Street. A square was created out of lilacs and day lilies, transplanted from elsewhere in the yard, to create a more intimate space for people to sit and read. The slate stones mentioned above were found almost completely covered and were re-laid in new paths.
Most of the perennials, shrubs and trees that fill the Formal Garden and the rest of the grounds were thoughtful and generous donations from members of the community. The little garden on the Central Street side of the house is used for growing herbs and as a temporary holding garden for plants that have been donated or moved.
The Open Space, which makes up the rear half of the grounds, includes the Lightfoot Tower and large elms that provide cool shade. This area is useful for events such as Library garden parties. The Chester Trust, the group who are working to restore the Tower, use the space for their fundraising socials. In the past, it has been a staging and display area for area for the pumpkin carving contest organized for Chester’s Harvest Fest. The Library grounds are sometimes used as a location for wedding photographs.
The Library Grounds Through the Seasons
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