Then & Now: Historic archive transforms to sleek and modern library

The new Dayton Free Public Library building opened to the community in January of 1888. 

The Dayton Daily Herald referred to the structure as the “finest library in the West” when the doors opened. Previously the city’s collection of books had been housed in various spaces around town. 

The library is the subject of this week's update to the popular Then & Now photo feature, which explores past and present views of notable Dayton locations. 

Located in Cooper Park, next to the Miami and Erie Canal, the building was constructed out of Dayton limestone with Marquette red sandstone trim and topped by a red slate roof. 

The city’s collection of books was housed on the first floor and a natural history museum was on the second floor. 

Today, a new $64 million downtown main branch will open in August.

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