Historic Markers Across Florida

Lemon City Library

Marker ID: FLHM F-948
Location: southwest corner of NE 61st St and NE 4th Ct, Miami, FL
County: Miami-Dade
Coordinates: N 25° 49.942    W 080° 11.252
  25.83236666    -80.18753333
Style: Free Standing **
Waymark: WMXNJD


Lemon City Library

(Side 1)
Lemon City's first library started in the 1890s, in the local school, under the leadership of teacher Ada Merritt. She organized the Busy Bees of the Everglades, a club for young ladies focused on fundraising for the school library. Under Merritt, the school library amassed a collection of 400 books. Building on Merritt's efforts, 13 prominent Lemon City women, including members of the local Village Improvement Association, met in the home of Cornelia Keys in 1902 and formed the Lemon City Library Association. Keys owned the Lemon City Hotel and was the mother of local landowner E.C. Harrington. Credited as the first librarian, Keys offered space in her home as a public reading room and invited donations from the community. Starting in 1902, the association began raising funds for the construction of a new library building. Completed in 1904, the original wood-frame library was located at this site. It was more like an auditorium, with a stage at one end, than a traditional library. Initial furnishings were sparse, consisting of tables, chairs, and bookcases brought from Keys' home. The dedication was held in January 1905 and the association continued fundraising to pay the library's remaining debts.

(Side 2)
The City of Miami annexed Lemon City in 1925, and the independent community ceased to be. In 1942, the library joined the City of Miami Public Library System. The Lemon City Library and Improvement Association, in partnership with writer Joseph Faus, pushed for the construction of a new library branch in the 1950s. The new Lemon City library building was completed in 1963 at 640 NE 61st Street. The intention was to preserve the original library, but that plan changed when a fire in 1964 ruined much of the building's interior. A Miami Herald news article published on September 16, 1964, said “the library was more than a reading place, it had a stage and a kitchen, and was used for a variety of community purposes ranging from supper socials, through political rallies and into church services. It's humble, but it reminds a lot of people when all the lower half of southern Florida was young.” Following the fire, the original library was abandoned and eventually torn down. Although its original building is gone, the Lemon City Library continues to serve the community, operating out of the 1963 building as part of the Miami-Dade County Public Library System.

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