Veterans Memorial Library
A Florida Heritage Site F-903
Sponsored by St. Cloud Main Street, the Cit of St. Cloud and the Florida Department of State. 2016
The marker reads:
"The Ladies Improvement Club of St. Cloud organized in 1910 for the betterment of the community through civic projects and the advocacy of literacy. The club established a small area in the Sugar Belt Railway depot for books and magazines for public use. As the community goes, the club relocated the collection to a small building on Pennsylvania Avenue, then later to the second floor of city hall on Florida Avenue and 10th Street. The library became an important focus of the club and community. In 1915, club president Mary George worked with Judge W.G. Peckham to secure lots on Massachusetts Avenue for the construction of a new library building.
Within a year, the club raised $700 to pay for the lots. Contributions from Union Army veterans in the Grand Army of the Republic helped fund construction of the library in 1922. It was designed by Orlando architects Ida Annah Ryan, the first woman to earn a masters degree from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and Isabel Roberts, who studied under Frank Lloyd Wright. Ryan and Roberts insisted on a motto. Thomas Carlyle’s “The true university is a collection of books.” was selected.
The reverse side reads:
This Grecian style building, constructed by P.E. Morgan, was composed of hollow clay tile with stained stucco exterior finish. The dedication of the Veterans Memorial Library in February 1923 was presided over by the president of the Ladies Improvement Club. Sixty members of the Grand Army of the Republic and forty members of its auxiliary, the Woman’s relief Corps. marched to the library for flag-raising ceremonies. The Ladies Improvement Club, renamed the Woman’s Club of St. Cloud in 1941, maintained and operated the library until it became part of the Osceola County library system in 1968. The building served as the city’s library for over 50 years until the library moved in 1974. Thereafter it was used as a re-sale shop for the American Red Cross and other civic groups until 2000. The City of St. Cloud purchased the building in 2001 and began renovations to establish the St. Cloud Heritage Museum run by the Woman’s Club of St. Cloud. The museum opened in February 2008 and houses the records and artifacts of St. Cloud’s history.
To qualify as a Florida Heritage Site a building, structure or site must be at least 30 years old and have significance in the areas of architecture, archaeology, Florida history or traditional culture, or be associated with a significant event that took place at least 30 years ago.
Resources associated with a historically significant person may qualify as a Florida Heritage Site 30 years after the death of the individual or 30 years after the event with which the person is associated.
The resource should visibly retain those physical characteristics that were present during the period for which it or the associated person is significant. A moved building or structure may qualify as a Florida Heritage Site if the move was made 30 or more years ago, or the move was made to preserve the resource from demolition and reasonable attempts were made to ensure that the new setting is similar to the historical setting.