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The William Hall Library was the first official public library in Cranston when it opened as the Edgewood Library…More 1897 in a small house at the corner of Park and Warwick Avenues.
Hall, a prominent businessman, established a fund to form the library in his will. He died in 1916.
Hall (1837-1916) was an entrepreneur and a well-respected member of the Cranston community, serving on the Cranston City Council, state Senate and House of Representatives. He was never defeated in his numerous runs for office and legend has it he started his first business at 18 with just $50, selling fruits and vegetables from a small market on Broad Street.
The library was renamed in 1921 after the Edgewood Free Public Library was transitioned into the new William H. Hall Free Library, run by a board of trustees envisioned in Hall's will. After a lengthy public debate, a new, elegant building was built on the grounds of Hall's former mansion on Broad Street. It was opened to the public on Nov. 13, 1927.
The building combines elements of Georgian and Italian Renaissance design with a curved arches over the loggia and white pillars. Three double glass and bronze doors open to an impressive, high-cieling interior.
The library boasts a large collection of fiction, nonfiction, reference and children's books. It also serves as a community center and gathering place.
Though he was childless, Hall was an ardent supporter of learning and children's issues. Long after his death, the William H. Hall Library stands as a monument to his desire to enrich the lives of Cranston's youth.