City of Naperville; Illinois
United States of America

The purpose of this petition is to prevent the demolition of the historic building located at 110 S. Washington Street, Naperville, IL (the former Nichols Library building).

This building is within the National Register of Historic Places district, established in 1977. In fact, all of Naperville’s downtown area falls into that category. Covenant restrictions were placed on the old library façade and Washington Street entrance foyer, in perpetuity, when the city of Naperville sold the building to a church in 1995.

In 1895 prominent Naperville businessman James L. Nichols bequeathed money to build a library for the town—ultimately known as Nichols Library. Nichols left $10,000 to the city "for the purpose of purchasing a suitable lot within the corporate limits of the city and erecting thereon a suitable library building, said building to be used for a public, free reading room and library by the inhabitants of the city." It was to be used for this purpose alone and if diverted to other purposes it was to revert to the estate. The bequest was contingent upon the city council's acceptance of these terms. The City council approved establishing a public library on May 7, 1897.

The architect was Mifflin Emlen (M. E.) Bell. He was the supervising architect for the U.S. Treasury Department and planned the courthouse at Wheaton, IL. He was a member of the Joint Commission to Complete the Washington Monument; his name is engraved on the north face of the monument's capstone. He also was in charge of federal buildings at the 1893 World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago.

We, the undersigned, call on the City of Naperville to refrain from any demolition or alteration of the historic Nichols Library Building in Naperville, IL.

We ask that nothing further progress with the proposed redevelopment of the old Nichols Library Building until a more suitable solution can be reached to preserve this historic building. Mayor Chirico and the Naperville City Council: you have the authority to prevent the demolition or alterations of this building, which is an integral piece of the fabric of Naperville. We stand united in hopes that you would provide a forum to facilitate the preservation of this property.

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The Save Old Nichols Library petition to City of Naperville; Illinois was written by Barbara Hower and is in the category Miscellaneous at GoPetition.