EDITORIAL: Wallingford Historical Society buys Yalesville library branch building

It would be hard to find a better match for the former Yalesville library branch than the Wallingford Historical Society. The library had soldiered on, at 400 Church St., as an extension of the Wallingford Public Library, but its use could be best described as limited and it shut down at the onset of the pandemic.

“It was used most often for people to pick up their reserved books that they had put on hold,” said Jane Fisher, the Wallingford library’s executive director. “People in that part of Wallingford and in the South Meriden community used it to pick up their holds.”

One important intangible is that the library had the Yalesville name, and as such served as a reminder of the town’s past. Yalesville was founded in 1677. “Yalesville is a vibrant community and has been a vibrant community for a long time,” said Bob Beaumont, “and at one point, you go back since the 1700s, Yalesville was really pretty much the industrial center because they had like four different types of mills.”

Beaumont, the first vice president of the Wallingford Historical Society, was talking with R-J reporter Jessica Simms. The historical society purchased the Yalesville library building for $235,000, in what could certainly be considered among the best options of use for the building.

For one, it will help keep the Yalesville name alive. As Beaumont noted, the section of Wallingford has “been known as Yalesville for 200 years. How much is left that says ‘Yalesville’? Not much.” There had been a Yalesville Elementary School, but that is now named for the late state Rep. Mary G. Fritz. 

The purchase was recent, and plans are in the early stages. Beaumont said a committee will help determine how the historical society will use the building. 

The historical society could also use new members, particularly young members and those from the Yalesville area, said Shirley Lagerstrom, a historical society board member. Those with an interest in the town and its rich history would do well by joining at this important moment for the historical society.


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