Friday, May 21, 2010

The Mantel of Power

The Hudson Area Library has new public access computers--nine of them, instead of the five or six they had previously--and to accommodate the new equipment, the computer room has been upgraded. The unused bookshelves have been removed, and the pathetic hodgepodge of recycled desks and tables has been replaced with newly constructed counters extending the length of the north and south walls. This new arrangement opens the center of the room and exposes this lovely marble mantel, one of the many interior enhancements introduced during the period (1865-1881) when the building was the residence of George H. Power and his family.

Two more marble mantels survive on the second floor--one in the director's office and the other in the room adjoining that office. There were others in the building, and Norma Hart tells the heartbreaking story of the fate of one of them. Soon after the school district took ownership of the building in 1959 and the library was established as its tenant, Norma witnessed a maintenance man employed by the school district smashing a marble mantel to bits with a sledgehammer. It wasn't wanted in the room where it was located, and pulverizing it was the easiest way to get rid of it.

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