YARDLEY BOROUGH >> The warm glow emanating from the windows of the Old Library by Lake Afton beckoned visitors inside for a cup of hot cider, a peppermint candy cane, a holiday cookie or two and a friendly welcome.
The Yardley Historic Association hosted a holiday open house on Saturday in conjunction with 2nd Saturday in downtown Yardley.
Inside the Old Library, a fir tree festooned with real popcorn and cranberry chains, candles, tussy mussys, toys, fans, and ornate paper images stood tall in one corner of the room while wreaths adorned the library’s arched-shaped windows and holly decorated the light fixtures.
As visitors mingled and shopped for Yardley-related merchandise, wide-eyed youngsters watched two trains chug their way around a track and through a Christmas village set up by model train enthusiast Dean Dixon of Lower Makefield.
Dixon’s train display has become a holiday season “must see” in Yardley. He has brought his trains to the library for more than a decade, much to the delight of local youngsters who stare almost mesmerized at the layout.
Throughout the afternoon and into the evening, Yardley Borough musician Tony Primola tickled the ivories with the sounds of the season, filling the Old Library with plenty of good cheer.
Meanwhile, outside on the steps of the Old Library, members of St. Andrew’s Episcopal Church heralded the lighting of the little spruce tree nestled on the banks of Lake Afton with Christmas carols.
The Old Library is the home of the Yardley Historical Association and houses collections of books, documents, photographs and ephemera related to Yardley’s history.
The original Yardleyville Library Company was established in 1845. Samuel Slack was appointed librarian with an annual salary of $1. The subscription library was housed in a room over Mr. Slack's store (the site of the present Continental Tavern).
In the 1870s the citizens of Yardleyville erected a library building on land donated by the heirs of William Yardley who settled in the area in 1682 on land purchased from William Penn. The Yardleyville Library was completed in 1878. The building's style, known as "carpenter" Gothic, features a steep gable roof, decorative slate work, and pointed arched windows. The design was possibly copied from an old volume of poetry.
In 1959, after the building was threatened by a proposed route for Interstate 95, several local residents donated funds for an addition in keeping with the original architectural style. The building was used as a community library until 1977, when a branch of the Bucks County Library was constructed outside of town in Lower Makefield Township.