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Library History

A Brief History of the Community & Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library

In 1820 Mason Smith from New Hampshire contracts for a large section of land including most of today’s Delevan.  Then known as Yorkshire Center.  He is the first to clear land here.  Mason’s father, John Smith, claims he walked here in 18 days.  Mason builds the first frame barn and then walks to Buffalo to buy a cotton handkerchief and two sickles to harvest his crop.  Mason owns the second horse in the township and the first plow.

Thirty years later Yorkshire Center has 42 buildings, a sawmill on the Lime Lake outlet. In 1854 a Post Office is established in Yorkshire Center.

Originally known as Coonville, the Township of Yorkshire was comprised of three distinct early settlements.  These were Yorkshire Corners (now known as Yorkshire or Weber City named from the Amos and Andy radio show).  West Yorkshire (popularly known as the Forks) and Yorkshire Center, now the Village of Delevan.  On September 9, 1892 Yorkshire Center changes its name to Delevan.  A favorite pastime in Delevan is to watch the activity at the Delevan Railroad Station at 5:00 P. M. when passenger trains from both the south and north arrive at the same time.  The population in Delevan is now 525.

The K. S. Society (Knowledge Seekers) forms in 1907. (It is still a major supporter of the library today.)

In 1918 the Delevan School burns again.  A replica of this school can be seen in the Delevan-Yorkshire Library along with a model of Main Street in Delevan.  (Both models were built by Larry Greco who passed away in 2003.)

The Delevan Public Library is formed through the efforts of Dr. John and Mrs. Dorothy Anderson and the K. S. Society.  Mrs. Anderson serves as the first president of the library board of trustees, and Mrs. Floyd Fox is the first librarian.  Mrs. Fox remains the librarian for 20 years before retiring.  The Library, or “Reading Room,” moves from a room at the Delevan High School to a rented storefront on Main Street. In 1969 due to hard times in the area the Library’s future is on shaky ground.

The Library receives a provisional charter from the New York State Department of Education and the Board of Regents of the State University of New York as a “Public Library” in the Town of Yorkshire in 1974. The “Absolute Charter” is issued by the same government bodies in April 1982.

In 1979, with new life, the Delevan-Yorkshire Public Library is moved into the building where it is now located.  George Crawford is re-elected president of the Library and remains a major contributor until his death in 2003.

Between 1979 and 1984, fund-raising efforts continue. With local donations and grant-funding, in October 1984, an addition of more than 1800 square feet is completed. Total cost of the project for the building and new furnishings is more than $65,000.

In 2005, the Library expands yet again with the addition of the Anderson Community Room. Funding for the project comes from an endowment from the estate of the late Dr. John and Mrs. Dorothy Anderson. The existing Library structure is remodeled and updated as a part of the expansion project. The main entrance to the Library is also moved to the Olmstead Ave. side of the building, with handicapped-accessible restrooms installed off the foyer. A paved parking lot is added at the north end of the new addition in 2006, and an extension to the north end of the  parking lot is added in 2007.

As a member library of the Chatauqua-Cattaraugus Library System, the Library goes “live” on February 27, 2008 with an automated circulation system and collection catalog, enabling library users to access the catalog of library items online.