Entrance to the library on Hauxhurst Avenue

The Weehawken Public Library is the free public library of Weehawken, New Jersey. The library has a collection of about 43,000 volumes and circulates 40,604 items annually.[1] It is a member of the Bergen County Cooperative Library System, a consortium of municipal libraries in the northeastern New Jersey counties of Bergen, Hudson, Passaic, and Essex.[2]

The library sits at 49 Hauxhurst Avenue on a precipice overlooking the Lincoln Tunnel Helix. Originally built as a private home, it became a library in 1942, and was extensively renovated and expanded in 1997-1998.[3] The landmark is home to the town's historical commission.[4][5] An annual fundraiser for the library at Lincoln Harbor, a culinary event called A Taste of Weehawken, has taken place since 2000.[6][7]

History

The library overlooks the Lincoln Tunnel Helix.

Wilhelm Joseph Peter (aka William Peter) (March 16, 1832 – June 10, 1918) immigrated from Achern in the Grand Duchy of Baden after the German revolution of 1848 to avoid persecution due to his father's affiliation with it. After some years in the brewery business at several locales in North Hudson, he established the William Peter Brewing Company in 1862 at Hudson Avenue and Weehawken Street in what was then Union Hill.[8][9] Parts of the imposing structure remained, and were repurposed as a storage facility.[10][11] While he and his family lived for a time across the street at the since demolished Fausel Mansion,[8] Peter eventually built a mansion across the valley on the cliff where the library now stands.[3][12]

The William Peter historical marker on Hudson Ave and Peter Street in Union City

Completed in 1904 at the cost of $75,000, the home was designed like a German-style castle with 17 rooms and elaborately decorated with ornate woodwork, marble, stained glass, and several fireplaces.[5] A successful businessman, Peter was also a painter encouraged by Hudson River School artist Max Eaglau and maintained a studio as his home for himself and others to use. The gallery in the house included many works inspired by his native Black Forest and the Catskill Mountains, where he summered.[8] After Peter's death, the house changed hands[5] and was owned for a time by the Arnoldi family.[12] In the 1930s, to make way for the construction of the Midtown-Hudson Tunnel (today's Lincoln Tunnel), the building and others in the neighborhood and along Boulevard East were acquired by the Port Authority. Many were demolished, but the Peter Mansion was spared and later given to the township. The library opened in September 1942[5][13] with books and memorabilia donated by local residents.[5]

In 1997, the library closed for expansion and renovation. It re-opened in 1999.[5][13] In March 2022, the town council adopted a $1.4 million bond ordinance to modernize the library. The project includes installation of energy efficient lighting, replacement of exterior windows, improved Wi-Fi, a new HVAC system, an improved electrical system, and additional USB ports to public work stations.[13]

Weehawken Historical Commission

The Weehawken Historical Commission, whose office and archives are located on the upper floor of the library in the Historical Room, maintains materials originally contributed upon the creation of the library as well as other acquisitions made over the years.[14] The Weehawken Time Machine is a website that has digitized many of the photographs and documents in the collection. In 2009, to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the town's incorporation, the commission published Weehawken as part of Arcadia Publishing's Images of America series.[15][16]

References

  1. ^ "Weehawken Public Library". librarytechnology.org. November 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-23.
  2. ^ "Weehawken Public Library". Bergen County Cooperative Library System. Retrieved 2011-11-24.
  3. ^ a b Strunsky, Steve (June 28, 1998). "ON THE MAP; Above the Helix, an Old Library Grows Newer". The New York Times. Archived from the original on May 27, 2015. Retrieved January 4, 2023.
  4. ^ Fry, Chris (September 4, 2018). "Beers and Books: History of the Weehawken Public Library".
  5. ^ a b c d e f Sherman, Lauren; Gaulkin, Ellen Robb (February 2009). Weehawken (paper). Images of America (1st ed.). Arcadia Publishing. ISBN 978-0-7385-6268-1.
  6. ^ Arrue, Karen (April 27, 2010), "Weehawken library fund-raiser brings new and known restaurants to Lincoln Harbor for cuisine and the view", The Jersey Journal, retrieved 2011-11-23
  7. ^ Deering, Sally (April 23, 2011), "Local Hudson County Restaurants and Wine Suppliers participate in Fundraising Event for Weehawken Free Public Library", Riverview Observer, retrieved 2011-11-23
  8. ^ a b c Schneider, Eberhardt. "Wilhelm Joseph Peter". Archived from the original on May 11, 2010. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  9. ^ "Peter Family from Achern to Union Hill". fortunecity.com. Archived from the original on June 4, 2011. Retrieved 2011-11-25.
  10. ^ "SELF STORAGE UNION CITY". Archived from the original on November 4, 2011. Retrieved November 25, 2011.
  11. ^ "Category: Weehawken". STREET TO THE LEFT.
  12. ^ a b "Peters/Arnoldi House in the 1930s - Pre Library". Weehawken Time Machine. Archived from the original on March 27, 2022. Retrieved March 4, 2023.
  13. ^ a b c Israel, Daniel (April 14, 2022). "Weehawken bonds $2.8 million for more municipal pool upgrades". The Hudson Reporter. Archived from the original on April 16, 2022. Retrieved April 16, 2022.
  14. ^ "The Weehawken Time Machine - Weehawken Historical Commission". Weehawkenhistory.org. Retrieved 2011-11-29.
  15. ^ Schwaeble, Diana; Rosero, Jessica (June 24, 2008), "A look back in time Capturing Weehawken's past in pictures", Hudson Reporter, retrieved 2011-11-23
  16. ^ Kim, Jennifer (February 4, 2009). "Weehawken kicks off year-long celebration of 150th anniversary". Arcadia Publishing. Retrieved 2011-11-25.

40°46′09″N 74°01′24″W / 40.76911°N 74.02329°W / 40.76911; -74.02329