History of Porter Memorial Library
Porter Memorial Library was originally established as a Library Society in the early 1800's. Membership and borrowing privileges were given only to individuals able to purchase a share in the library and pay an annual assessment.
Rufus King Porter, a local lawyer and prominent member of Machias society, housed the book collection in his law office on Cooper Street for many years. The first book catalogue printed in 1843 listed 600 titles.
The Machias Library Association was established in 1874. Henry Homes Porter, a Chicago businessman and son of Rufus King Porter, donated $10,000 to the Association in 1891 for a library to be built and named in honor of his father.
Boston architect George Clough, a native of Blue Hill, Maine, designed not only Porter Library but also Buck Memorial Library in Bucksport, Maine, our elder architectural twin.
Porter is constructed of Marshfield granite. The mantel of the fireplace in the Reading Room is made from a slab of rare black granite, quarried in Addison, Maine. The first naval battle of the Revolutionary War was fought nearby, and the ballast stones from the captured British warship Margaretta are also incorporated in the base of this fireplace.
Porter Memorial Library opened to the public on September 15, 1893.
Ursula Pennirnan served for 17 years as President of the Machias Library Association in the late 1800's. The Children's Room added in 1976 was named in remembrance of Luella A. Pendergast, a former President of the Ursula Penniman Federated Woman's Club, with help from the Machias Rotary Club, who aided with its construction.
Porter Library looks forward now to the future and the next 100 years of providing literary, social, and technological service to Machias and the Down East community.