Welcome to our Digital Heritage collection!
The Melrose Pubic Library's Digital Heritage collection presents historical photographs relating to the history of our community, along with a collection of Melrose High School yearbooks.
Melrose is a small suburban community located approximately seven miles north of Boston with a geographic area of 4.76 square miles and a population of 28,150 people. Settled in the 18th century, the area was known as Pond Feilde after its central body of water, now called Ell Pond. Initially part of colonial Charlestown and then Malden,
Melrose was incorporated as a town in 1850 and adopted a city charter in 1900. Melrose has a city government of a mayor and city council.
With the advent of the railroad in the early 19th century, Melrose became an attractive place to live for those who worked in Boston, and it retains that residential character to this day. Many of the city’s residences and Main Street buildings date from the Victorian era of the late 19th century.
The Melrose Public Library was born officially at a Town Meeting on March 27, 1871. The library inhabited several temporary homes over the next several years. Aware of the need for a permanent library facility, Melrosians petitioned Andrew Carnegie to make a substantial contribution for the construction of a library building. A building was erected on the West Emerson Street site of the old High School, which had been destroyed by fire in 1897. The new building opened on April 15, 1904. The library was enlarged with an addition in 1963, and remains on this site today.
March 27, 2021 marks the 150th anniversary of the founding of the Melrose Public Library. The library’s beginnings were at a town meeting where three trustees were appointed to establish a “public library and reading room” and a vote was passed to allocate the Dog Tax to fund the library. The library had several homes prior to its present-day location (and size) on West Emerson Street.
Melrose Public Library now offers online digital access to Town and City Annual Reports thanks in part to the Boston Public Library Digital Commonwealth project. Town and City reports are part of the Internet Archive founded in 1996, a non-profit digital repository offering permanent access to millions of free books and more that exist in digital format.
The Melrose Public Library online collection of Town and City Annual Reports covers the years from 1851 through 1925. All reports up to 1999 are also available in hard copy in the library's Local History Room.