History of the RFL

Riverton Free Library Association

The Riverton Free Library Association was founded on 12 January 1899 by a group of community volunteers.  The “Free” in the title refers to the library’s status as a “library association.”  The Association continues as a volunteer organization, independent of any government body.  For a detailed history of the library see Riverton Free Library History, Part I, 1899-1970, and Riverton Free Library History, Part II, 1970-1999.

Sarah Morris Perot Ogden edit

Mayor Edward H Ogden

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our Building’s Beginning

On 4 February 1908, Mrs. Sarah Morris Ogden, who had purchased the house from the George L. Senat family, deeded the building to the Association in memory of her late husband, Edward H. Ogden, Riverton’s first Mayor.  The library moved to its current location on Main Street between 3rd and 4th Streets after being housed for nine years in the Reading Room in the Parish House of Riverton’s Christ Episcopal Church.

George L. Senat, though a bachelor, was a favorite of local children. Called "Uncle George," he passed in 1889. Photo, with thanks from Nancy Hall.

George L. Senat, though a bachelor, was a favorite of local children. Called “Uncle George,” he passed in 1889. Photo, with thanks from Nancy Hall.

 

 

Seated in his reading room, George L. Senat in 1887.  His house would become the permanent site for the new library in 1908.

 

 

Building Design

Riverton Free Library c.1908

Postcard of the Riverton Free Library, c1908. With thanks to Nick Mortgu.

Built around 1852, the house has a gabled roof with a board and batten siding.  Designated as Carpenter Gothic, a form of Victorian architecture, it features more “gingerbread” and is regarded as more of a country-style than plan Gothic.

Building Additions

Significant additions to the original building are the Children’s Room, added in 1958, and a large adult fiction/meeting room, added entirely through donations, in 1992.  The walnut circulation desk, built in 1992 by a Riverton resident, was a gift to the library.

Branch Status: Burlington County Library System

In 2004, the Riverton Free Library became a full branch of the Burlington County Library System (BCLS), thus making available to our patrons all the resources of the larger system as well as making our employees now under the auspices of BCLS.  The grounds and the building, and all local financial resources including the management of donations and endowments, continue to be the responsibility of the library’s Association.

Image:  The Edward H. Ogden Memorial Building, Riverton Library Association, c1908.