Category Archives: Trenton (NJ)

A building built for books

I ran across some photos recently from the 1930s and 40s of a library branch that was part of the Trenton (NJ) Public Library system for 80 years. A fairly small city system, prior to 2010 the Trenton Public Library had a Main downtown branch and four neighborhood branches. Now only the Main downtown branch remains open.

The Skelton Branch, actually initially established in 1917 at the old Franklin School in south Trenton, was built on the corner of South Broad and Malone Streets in 1929. Named after Dr. Charles Skelton (1806-1879), a generous benefactor who was a proponent of free public school education and libraries in Trenton, the Skelton Branch featured high arched windows, a staircase that led to the Children’s department on the second floor and locally crafted tilework that surrounded the children’s room fireplace.

SkeltonBranchLibraryExteriorView

SkeltonBranchLibrary1stFloorundated

SkeltonBranchLibraryDisplay1930

My favorite photo is an undated one from the late 1930s/early 1940s that depicts the Skelton Branch’s 2nd floor busy Children’s Department. The book one of the boys standing on the right in the photo is holding is the Boy’s Book of Pirates by Howard Pyle originally published in 1908 (click on this photo as well as the others for a clearer view).

SkeltonBranchLibraryChildrensDept

BoysBookofPiratesHowardPyle1908