Lewis Fox Memorial Library
Fireplace and Paneling from Hopkins
R. Cancel, Manager, Lewis Fox Memorial Library Media Center
Historical Features in the Lewis Fox
I. The Hopkins Street Office Fireplace and
fireplace was originally located in the office of the Hopkins Street building of the Hartford Public High School,
built in 1883.
was basically a mantel, carved from brownstone, which was set into the wall
of the main office. The fireplace
surround was composed of bricks and it had no particular decoration. The fireplace worked for many years, and
one story about it involves Thomas J. Quirk, beloved principal of HPHS from
1938 to 1962.
the 1950’s the heating system of the Hopkins Street
Building had become
inefficient. Principal Thomas J. Quirk
chopped up old and broken chairs and burned them in the fireplace in order to
make the office more comfortable for the secretaries in the winter.
the new HPHS opened at 55 Forest
Street in 1963, this fireplace was transferred
to the library’s Memorabilia Room at the east end of the reading room. It remained there until it was necessary to
remove it during the renovations (2004-2007).
fireplace and its fine brass fixtures (helmet, grate with animal head
andirons, fender, and fireplace tools stand) came out of storage in
2007. The fireplace was reconstructed
with new bricks, and the tools stand was placed in the HPHS Archive.
II. The Cherry Paneling.
Cherry wood paneling was made from pocket doors in the Hopkins Street
Building and it covered
two-thirds of the fireplace wall in the school library’s Memorabilia Room
when the building
at 55 Forest Street
opened in 1963.
from the 70’s and 80’s remember the Memorabilia Room as a quiet, comfortable
place to read and very often socialize.
renovations were underway, the paneling was removed and placed in storage in
the incinerator room of the school.
After a great amount of “contractor talk” and exhortations from the
Museum Committee, the paneling was placed in the new Lewis Fox
Media Center. This had been planned from the beginning of
the renovations, but it had been in question at one point. After the paneling
was rejoined to the fireplace, the architects designed a matching crown
molding which runs from the top of the paneling around the walls of the
entire reading room.
III. The 1915 Mason & Hamlin Grand Piano.
fine piano, located in the southwest corner of the Lewis
Center, was in the Broad Street
Building when it opened
in 1915. It was always used for
concerts and assemblies in the auditorium of that building for almost fifty
years until it was moved to the Club Room in the Forest Street
Building in 1963.
good memories are associated with this piano, but in time it became worn down
and in need of repair.
are most grateful to members of the Class of 1957 who provided the spark
needed to initiate an appeal for funds to do a thorough restoration of the
Mr. Tony Hulme of The
Piano & Organ Warehouse of Bloomfield raised most of the funds from
anonymous donors, lovers of music, who took interest in the project. The
piano would not have been restored so magnificently if it had not been for
him. The total cost of the restoration was $18,000, and a reception
commemorating the completion of the restoration was held at the Greater
Hartford Arts Council facility in 2002.
to the generosity of all the persons involved in this effort, the piano will
ring out beautiful music for the H.P.H.S. community once again: a joyful symbol of continuity in a new
chapter of history for the Hartford