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Hill Public Library celebrating 125th anniversary

The Hill Public Library, shown here in an archive photo, is now 125 years old and a special celebration will be held on Tuesday, Aug. 21, with refreshments and live musical entertainment beside the town pond. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
August 08, 2018
HILL – This year marks the 125th anniversary of Hill Public Library, and in celebration of the historic event, their weekly Dewey's Coffee Café will move across the road to the lawn around the Skip Wallace pavilion on Tuesday, Aug. 21, where there will be light refreshments, entertainment, and of course, a birthday cake for all to enjoy.

Over the years, the library, like the town itself, has experienced a few moves.

When the New Hampshire legislature passed a law in 1891 to provide support for public libraries, Hill was among the first towns to act. At their town meeting in March of 1892, state aid was accepted by the voters, along with an appropriation of $15 to meet their share of the cost to create a library. In December the town received $100 and five books from the state and preparations for the facility got underway.

According to "Hill: The Old and The New," published in 1976, the library was first opened on Jan. 3, 1893 in a partitioned portion of the east end of Academy Hall. Friends of the library donated $88 to help purchase 99 more books for the shelves and 160 library cards were issued that year.

It wasn't long before that space in Academy Hall was outgrown, though, and the library was eventually moved into a new brick schoolhouse that was built in Old Hill village.

Years later, when the entire village was moved to make way for the Franklin Dam project, the library moved in with the Town Hall. That town hall was not the one people know of today however.

Hill's librarian, Lynn Christopher, explained that the current town hall/library was actually the school when the town moved, and the site of the Jenny D. Blake School was the town hall and library. Approximately 17 years or so ago, Christopher said they switched buildings when the school population began to grow and they school needed the larger space.

"There is so much great history like that in this small town," said Christopher. "I'm always hearing stories about Hill from people who come to the library and it's fascinating."

To celebrate a part of that history, people are invited to join the Friends of Hill Library as they pay tribute to their library and its important role in the town. Besides refreshments and cake, Little Davey and the Rolling 88's will be playing everything from classic hits to modern pop, Christopher said.

Little Davey, aka David Lockwood, is a retired Holderness Central School music teacher who lives in Plymouth. The Rolling 88's? They're not his band members, they're the keys on his piano.

Lockwood is an accomplished pianist who likes to take his show on the road. Recently featured in an edition of New Hampshire Chronicle, he explained that he was always jealous of street musicians who could play their instruments anywhere. After giving it some thought, he put a baby grand piano on a trailer and has been playing on the road ever since, delighting audiences in unusual places like the Plymouth Transfer Station, shopping plaza parking lots and even gas stations.

"I like the fact that he's a musician who is always on the move. That just fits the Town of Hill perfectly," Christopher said.

With limited table seating available around the pond and pavilion, people are asked to bring a blanket or lawn chairs to the celebration, which will take place that Tuesday from 10 a.m. until noon.

Martin Lord Osman
Penny Pitou
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