A Place in Time spotlights a significant cultural resource - a district, site, building, structure or object - entered in the National Register of Historic Places.

The Spalding Memorial Library-Tioga Point Mu­seum, in Athens, Bradford County, is an important civic building designed by architect Albert Hamilton Kipp (1850-1906) in the Colonial Revival and Classical Revival styles. Kipp studied with James Renwick, architect of New York’s Saint Patrick’s Cathedral and the Smithsonian Institution’s “Castle” in Washington, D.C. Constructed in 1897, the Spalding Memorial Library-Tioga Point Museum has been recently named to the National Register of Historic Places as an excellent example of a classically inspired civic building.

But the building isn’t important only for its architectural style; people also play a role in its distinctive history.

The building’s proponent, Louise Ship­man Welles Murray (1854-1931) was a local historian and writer, whose publications include Azilum (1903), A History of Old Tioga Point and Early Athens (1908), and Notes from the Collections of the Tioga Point Museum on Sullivan Expedition of 1779 its Centennial Celebration in 1879 (1929). At Murray’s behest, Jesse Spalding (1833-1904), a Bradford County native who had moved in the mid- 1850s to Chicago – ­ where he found fame (as President William Henry Harrison’s appointee as a commissioner for the Union Pacific Railroad) and fortune (in the wholesale lumber business) – financed the construction of the edifice. Spalding and his wife Adele donated more than twenty-five thousand dollars in memory of their son Robert, who died in 1895. Pittsburgh industrialist Andrew Carnegie contributed money for the library.

Given the integrity of the building, coupled with the significance of the collections it houses and the individuals who built and maintained it, the property was entered in the National Register of Historic Places because it “stands today as a symbol of the generosity of an Athens native son, Jesse Spalding, and his family, and of the decades of dedicated effort by Louise Welles Murray. It was her vision, made real with Spalding’s money, that produced a splendid piece of architecture and a home for generations seeking knowledge.” The designation recognizes the significance of the Spalding Memorial Library-Tioga Point Museum in the areas of architecture, archaeology, social history, and education.

 

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Awbury Historic District
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