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On February 11, 1884, Mr. Edward A. Goodnow deeded to the town of Princeton a tract of land with a building to be used as a public library. The land is just north of the common and is part of an elevated plateau, commanding a “formidable view.” This gift was to be forever known as the Goodnow Memorial Building.


The building with its square tower, semi-circular bay window, and shapely gable presents an architectural beauty. The exterior of the building is lovely rose-tinted granite from Milford, Massachusetts in combination with Longmeadow brownstone. The roof is black slate from Monson, Maine.

Above the entrance to the library is a Howard clock tower, which to this day still strikes the hours on a fine-tuned Meneely bell of a thousand pounds. The bell is inscribed “Goodnow Memorial Building” – “Knowledge is Power”.

The library is furnished with brown ash shelving and library tables that were beautifully refinished during our renovation project completed in 2001. Reproduction furniture from the time period is found throughout the building. Decorative paintings add much to the beauty and completeness of the rooms, in addition to which is an effective use of stained glass.


Originally the east half of the building was used as a public library and the western half as a schoolhouse. Around the turn of the century, the town built a schoolhouse for the students and the library took over the entire building. The east half currently houses the adult and juvenile fiction, large print  downstairs and the director’s office upstairs. The west wing houses the children’s room and technical service space downstairs and the adult and juvenile non-fiction, young adult and biography collection upstairs. With the renovation we transformed the basement into a story hour room, kitchen, small meeting room and Historical Society space.

Princeton Library Virtual History Tour

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