The Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach began as the West Palm Beach Reading Room in the Congregational Church at the corner of Datura and Olive Streets in 1895. Soon after, Commodore C.J. Clarke, a Palm Beach yachtsman, donated a houseboat to the Palm Beach Literary Society. The collection from the Reading Room and a $100 donation from Henry Flagler created the first city library. The houseboat was anchored at a dock off of the city park where Clematis Street terminates at the Lake Worth section of the Intracoastal Waterway.
The Reading Room was the City’s first Library. Residents were encouraged to visit the Reading Room instead of wasting their time drinking on Banyan Street.
Free Reading Room as viewed from City Park, 1912. Once part of the Palm Beach Yacht Club, this building was brought to West Palm Beach via a barge and established as the town’s first Library.
Artistic Spanish style Memorial Library alongside Woman’s Club. Cost totals $30,000 and contains Reading and Reference Rooms and a Museum.
Memorial Library dedicated to the men and women who served in World War I.
Memorial Library exterior.
Memorial Library interior.
New City Library designed by architect Norman Robson, opens with much flourish and controversy over the modern exterior.
The Library exterior as seen in the 1980s.
The Library receives a new interior, designed by Peter Robinson. Reading areas now have an inviting home feel.
The Library moves to its new location at City Center.
Mandel Foundation awards $5 million grant to transform West Palm Beach Public Library into a world-class institution and encourage support for public libraries. The West Palm Beach Public Library is renamed the Mandel Public Library of West Palm Beach.