Saturday, July 23, 2011

Who is Mr. Hubbard?



My latest library excursion brought me to the Hubbard Memorial Library in Ludlow. Please note that this library is not just The Ludlow Public Library. This library was named after someone. It is easy to see the building as just a library and not even think of its actual name. I believe that it would be safe to say that if I were to ask the average resident of Ludlow who this Mr. Hubbard was I would not get much of a response. Perhaps someone would say, as a mild aside 'some rich white guy'.

I'm not going to rail against the lack of knowledge of local civic history. It is simply a sad fact of life. Many people who sought to foster the community and contribute to the community (and were successful) are oftentimes forgotten by those they serve. It is an irony that their push to move the community forward left them in a dusty anonymity. I'm not saying that that it is intentional, but it is rather a symptom of a changing society. The world is getting smaller and people are looking outward at the world. In the past communities were more tightly knit because getting the news and communicating was not easy. Then in relatively rapid succession came the radio, television and internet. At one time the local community was all there was to see, now instant information is available on local events across the globe in the remotest areas.

In all this poor Mr. Hubbard gets lost in the wash of information. Who was Mr. Hubbard, you ask? Why, he was a rich, white guy. He also cared very much for the progress of the Town of Ludlow. As founder of the Ludlow Manufacturing Company, Charles Townsend Hubbard was in the position to not only employ a great many people, but also set up a reading room for their use. After his death in 1887 his family donated a building owned by the company to the town for the establishment of a permanent library. The original reading room was located in the "Old Tavern House" (That just has such a wonderfully colonial ring to it!) not too far from the donated building.

For more information on Ludlow history you can read (thanks to your friends at Google) The History of Ludlow.

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