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THE HISTORY OF THE LIBRARY BUILDING


 
The Red Bank Public Library began as the Red Bank Mutual library in 1878. It was located in several different buildings until 1937 when the children of Sigmund and Bertha Eisner donated the family home on the banks of the Navesink River to the community for use as a public library.
The original house was built in 1856. Itís first owner was Stacey Pitcher. In 1876 Mr. Pitcher sold the property to William H. Lowe who greatly enlarged it. 
84 West Front Street  c 1910
The house, an ornate Victorian, boasted 16 rooms and a tower which commanded a magnificent view of the Navesink River. Mr. Lowe who was an avid swimmer, built a concrete enclosed swimming pool on the river.  

Among the later occupants of the house was a Professor Starr who conducted an exclusive boarding school for boys. Stories that John Phillips Souza once rented the property have unfortunately never been confirmed.

Sigmund Eisner and his wife Bertha bought the property in 1906. The house was in a fairly run down condition at that time. The Eisners renovated it twice, removing the tower and Victorian woodwork.  They also filled and terraced the land behind the house.
The main living room was constructed in 1920, it was finished in mahogany and boasted the first concealed heating system to be put in a Red Bank House. 
Red Bank Public Library c 1960 looking much as it did when the Eisners owned it.
The house and property were donated to the community for use as a library in 1937.The former Eisner home served the people of Red Bank from 1937 until the 1960s relatively unaltered.  
By the mid 60s the collection was outgrowing the space and new technologies brought new needs.
In 1965, a study comparing the benefit of moving the library to a new location versus building an addition to the Eisner Residence concluded that building an addition was  advisable. 
The newly enlarged library reopened its doors in 1968.  It was considered a state of the art facility at the time.   It provided shelving for a much larger book and periodical collection and larger meeting room space
The current renovation project is the first major renovation since the late 60's.  The goal is to insure that this historic building continues to meet the needs of the people of Red Bank for years to come.

Many of the rooms in the Eisner House which had been closed to the public have been restored and open to the public

Red Bank Public Library 2004 Photo by Eric Stevenson
The beautiful Eisner living room with its ornate fireplace, ceiling and woodwork will become the home of the library's local history collection.
The second floor will house part of the adult collection and the back porch, remembered fondly by long time residents as the  ... children's reading room, will serve as a gallery/cafe area 

The elegant parquet floors on the main and second floors, long hidden by carpet, and closed to the public, have been refinished and are stunning.