Lowell’s public library was established in 1844 as the first “City” Library in the nation – a public library established and supported completely by public funds with no private endowments. It was originally named the City School Library and required a fifty cent annual fee. “School” was dropped from its name in 1860, and services became free in 1883. The facility moved several times before it relocated, in 1893, to the basement of the magnificently appointed Memorial Hall, designed by Lowell-born architect Frederick W. Stickney as a tribute to Lowell residents who perished during the Civil War. The original hall burned in a disastrous fire in 1915, but the City rebuilt the structure, aided by the original architect who incorporated into the rebuild replicas of eight original leaded glass commemorative windows. Added to the collection at this time were immense Civil War paintings by artist Paul Phillipoteaux. In the 1990s and again in 2002, the Library underwent major renovations. Today, the "Pollard Memorial Library" occupies the entirety of its historic building -- which has been tastefully and strategically updated for current needs and technology. The grand canvasses of Phillipoteaux remain a highlight of any visit to the library. For more information, visit http://www.pollardml.org/.