- Grant Recipient
Arts & Culture
- 9 Church St, Port Henry, NY 12974, USA
- 44.047711, -73.46102
Town of Moriah Historical Society
The Sherman Free Library was constructed in 1887 by local banker, businessman and philanthropist George R. Sherman for the free use of the community. In 1907 a fire ripped through the library and resulted in thousands of dollars of damage. It was rebuilt in 1908.
In 1887 the Sherman Free Library was constructed in the hamlet of Port Henry, near the Adirondack Mountains. Named for local banker, businessman, and philanthropist George Riley Sherman, the Sherman Free Library was intended to benefit the community. In Sherman’s Obituary published in an November 14, 1895 edition of The Essex County Republican, his generosity regarding the donation of the library was described in great detail:
His chief gift outside his benefactions to the Sherman Academy was the Sherman Free Library in Port Henry, consisting of a handsome building, and equipped at first with about 3,000 books. This was the culmination of the plan he had long contemplated for the benefit of his fellow-citizens. He not only built this library, but so endowed it as to make it always perfectly self-supporting.
The Sherman Free Library was enjoyed for several years and continued to grow. Unfortunately tragedy stuck in 1907, when a devastating fire ripped through the building. The December 10, 1907 edition of The Post Star details the damage that was done to the library:
The Sherman Free Library at Port Henry was damaged to the extent if $40,000 by a fire which broke out about 4 o’clock on Saturday Afternoon…The flames continued to spread to neighboring buildings. The new village hall and the First National bank buildings also took fire but were saved. Case and Son were constructing an addition to the library building and this was destroyed.
While the library was severely damaged, it was rebuilt and reopened the following year. As of 2020, the Sherman Free Library still stands as a legacy of George R Sherman’s devotion to the community of Port Henry, New York.