Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sentimental Sunday: Oaklawn Public Library

Photo by Midge Frazel, August 2014

School or Library?
Because September is "Back to School Month", hubs and I ventured down to historic Oaklawn, a village in my native Cranston, Rhode Island. I had him drive down to the Oaklawn Baptist Church where I took several photos of the church. As traffic was light, I zipped across the street to stand on the sidewalk to take a full shot of the church. I smiled at where I was standing and walked up to the side of this building which once was called, "Oaklawn Library" because of the plaque that is on the side of the building. 

I did not know that this library was once a school! The elementary school I attended in Oaklawn (Oaklawn Grammar School) was built in 1895 according to the Images of America book, Cranston by Lydia L. Rapoza and Bette Miller, published in 1999 and pictured on p. 115. My school was being renovated when I went to Kindergarten and that building is what stands today. The old, 1895, school is gone. I remember my mother calling me to tell me it was torn down. 

As an educator, I enjoy learning about school buildings and libraries, especially ones that fit into my family history. The book does tell me that "my school" was built in spring of 1895 for $6,232,69. The web site for the library, states this became a library in 1896.

I see that the sign says circa 1838 for its beginning year and it makes we wonder if this was part of the Quaker friends history near that year as it was across the street from the meeting house. 

According to the book, the front of the building facing the road (with the quarterboard) on the side is the original building. I don't remember it without the addition (with the window). It became a branch of the larger picture of the Cranston Public Library system in 1968.


wildlifewatcher said...

Hi Midge, Wonderful history and sentiment! I went to the same schools that my late Mother went to. That is remarkable in that she was 38 years older than I and we lived in Los Angeles!

Anonymous said...

Yes this was the original Oaklawn school before it became a library in 1896. There have been several additions over the years. There is a collection of historic information about the building in the collection if you want to do further research. Give me a call at the Central Library if you want to discuss.
Ed Garcia (Cranston Library Director)

Midge Frazel said...

Thank you, Ed for your comment.(I am thrilled!) I will write a blog post about my earliest library experiences. It would be nice to have a photo of the Oaklawn School (1895) for my blog if you can find one and give me permission to use it.

I was allowed to get a library card at the (Warwick) Pontiac Library when I was 5. I walked there.