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History

The Dimmick family first came to Mauch Chunk in 1853 from Pike County (the Scranton area). Milo Dimmick was a prominent lawyer who, among other achievements, served several terms in Congress. Milo’s portrait is hanging on the west side of the balcony– to the left, if you are standing behind the counter.

Milo Dimmick
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Milo Dimmick

Stereograph card showing Old Mauch Chunk (now Jim Thorpe)

Milton Dimmick (whose portrait is directly above the circulation desk) was born June 29, 1848 in Mauch Chunk. He was one of four children, with one brother and two sisters. Very little is publicly known about Milton. He attended Lehigh University as a member of the very first class ever enrolled at the school. (Construction of the college had only been completed the previous summer, and had been founded by Asa Packer, whose sons were also in attendance at—and, oddly, trustees of—the new university.) He graduated from Lehigh’s “School of Civil Engineering” in 1871, with only 3 other young men in that class.  Milton may have been rather sickly for most of his life. It appears that most of the Dimmick siblings were as well, though it’s difficult to say with any certainty. As it happened, Milton was the sole remaining member of his immediate family when he passed away in 1884. He died at the age of 36, which was comparatively older than his deceased siblings.

Upon Milton’s passing, he bequeathed the family estate to trustees for the express purpose of building a library in Mauch Chunk. It was his wish that someone would donate a piece of property, specifically on Broadway “between the public school-house and the Court House.” On the other hand, if someone from East Mauch Chunk were to donate a property, then the library would be located on that side of the bridge. As it turned out, no one on either side of Mauch Chunk was feeling particularly charitable. The trustees had to raise the funds to buy property, for which they appealed to prospective investors. Once more the good folks of the billionaire boomtown were less than exorbitantly generous. In order to claim a decent lot, the trustees themselves had to dig $1711.15 from their own pockets.

With the location determined, all that remained was to find some books. Luckily there was already a small neighborhood library – the “Minerva” – that was willing to donate their entire collection, so long as the Dimmick trustees could liquidate their debt. The Minerva collection was meant to have its own separate area of the Dimmick building, but the bulk of their books “were of very little use.” The trustees in the meantime spent roughly $2,000 on new books to add to the collection.

On June 15, 1889 the cornerstone was laid and there was an official groundbreaking ceremony. Construction would take a year and the doors would officially open on October 1 st , 1890. Over the years, the Dimmick Memorial Library has relied on the generosity of donors. Throughout the years, perhaps none has been as gracious as Mary Packer Cummings (whose portrait hangs on the balcony across from that of Milo). Mary bequeathed $25,000 to the library trustees in 1912.
 

Milton Dimmick

Mary Packer Cummings

DML after the fire of 1979

On December 13th of 1979, a fire erupted in the building, presumably from a malfunctioning boiler in the basement. Over 25,000 books were destroyed in the conflagration and hundreds of thousands of dollars’ worth of damage was incurred. Restoration of the building was a meticulous process that took nearly two years and a quarter-million dollars. During this time it was decided to expand the rear of the building past its original boundary. Until this time, the library ended where the octagonal room doors are – now the computer area. What’s currently the children’s and young adults’ area, as well as the DVD/Audiobook section, were added during this restoration.

NOTES: Quotations taken from Mauch Chunk Times-News 4 Oct 1939 and Morning Call 21 Aug 1986

FURTHER READING: From Miner’s Journal 17 Feb 1890: “To the left of the Reading room is the gentlemen’s toilet room, most solidly and substantially furnished and fitted with all the latest and most modern appliances in this line. The ladies’ toilet room is to the right of the Reading room, and is similarly furnished.”
 

Today the Dimmick Memorial Library continues to serve the community with a variety of books, services, and programs for children and adults.

Click on the links at the top of the page to find out more about current programs and services, and to donate to our library!

The Penn Kidder Library is a branch of the Dimmick Memorial Library.  However, the Penn Kidder Library has been a presence in Albrightsville since May 2013!  The first library home was in a 670 square foot modular unit purchased by the 'Friends of the Penn Kidder Library'.  The all-volunteer library operated in this space on the grounds of the Pine Point Plaza.  


In 2015, as the small library grew, we moved out of the modular unit into a storefront of the Pine Point Plaza, nestled between the bank and the Post Office. This location change increased the space to 2000 spare feet.  This additional space allowed the library collection to grow from approximately 6000 books to more than 14,000!


In 2019, the Penn Kidder Library moved to an office building a few miles South Route 903.  You can now find the library next to the entrance to Towamensing Trails.  We reorganized the library collection, and began the arduous task of cataloging every single book and DVD into a new circulation system.  Between the move to a completely new location, becoming a part of a larger library cooperative, and the challenges of the pandemic, Penn Kidder Library was temporarily closed.  


In June of 2020, we were able to reopen Penn Kidder Library as a part of the Dimmick Memorial Library.  The library now has access to State and District Library resources to better serve the citizens of Northern Carbon County.  We also have access to the collections of a dozen other libraries as a member of the Lehigh Carbon Library Cooperative. 


Since reopening in 2020, we have added thousands of new books, electronic resources, access to materials of multiple libraries nearby and across the entire state.  We've updated our space with custom-built bookshelves and some incredible toys and learning materials for kids of all ages.Come see us!

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