Click play for audio of history:
300 Block Coffee Street. Former Site of the First Library, circa 1898. The Band of Kings' Daughters and Sons known as the Willing Workers of Mandeville, represented by Trustee C S Ferguson, purchased from William Gause Hutchinson a plot of ground for the purpose of a public library. The price? $1.
The transfer describes the plot in square 33: 133' south of the NW corner of the south half of square 33, then 50' along Coffee Street, by 100' between parallel lines.
This effort marks the first lending library in St Tammany Parish.
By 1900 the library building, owned by the Town Of Mandeville, served as a public school, as well, with 1st, 2nd and 3rd grades. The principal was Miss E E Williamson and teacher, Mrs M F Girard.(Interestingly, School Board policy forbade the hiring of married women unless the husband was an invalid or deceased.)
On the Sanborn Insurance Map of this area from 1926, the little building is clearly marked 'public school'. It is likely that the library remained at this site until the dedication in June of 1950 of the Mandeville Branch, part of the Library Demonstration project in St Tammany Parish and funded by the State.
Called the Pugh Library, this building at 131 Lafitte Street was loaned for this use by Joseph Pugh, owner of the St Tammany Hotel. The building was on the expansive hotel site. Today it is a private residence.