The library is named after William B. Ogden.
William B. Ogden was born here, in Walton, in 1805. Mr. Ogden grew up in Walton and worked as a postmaster. Later he traveled west and helped establish the city of Chicago, Illinois. He served as the city’s first mayor.
When William. B. Ogden died in 1877, he left some money to his hometown. Mr. William Wheeler, one of the trustees of Mr. Ogden’s estate, traveled to Walton in 1892 and talked to a few people in the community about the best way to use the money. They suggested that the money be used to build a library.
So, it was built. Native bluestone was taken from the stone quarries on Marvin Hollow and on Shepard Hill, at a cost of $13,500. Construction began in 1896 and was completed in 1897. The library was designed by the firm Morris and Walker, of New York City, and was built by Alexander Carman, of Binghamton.
The library first opened on January 29, 1899.
Sadly, in 2006, the library was hit hard by flooding from the Delaware River.
The flooding destroyed over 12,000 books. Fortunately, with a great deal of help from the community, the library was able to recover. We now use the basement level for children’s programs and community activities.
1. Have you seen this glacial boulder on the corner of the library?
It is a marker for the founders of Walton and their families. (Enlarged Photo)
2. In 1984 the William B. Ogden Free Library was listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
3. Have you seen this bell on the main floor?
It is from a two-room schoolhouse that was on the library land before the library was built. The school was open from 1806-1838. One teacher had charge of 80-100 pupils of all ages, and instructed them for $12 a month. The school was eventually moved to Delaware Street, where the Big M parking lot is now.
Would you like to know more local history? Please see our Local History & Genealogy page under Services, or come in and ask about our local history resources.