Ox Cart Library

From Ohio History Central

The Ox Cart Library was the first publicly owned library in the Western Reserve of Connecticut in what is now northeast Ohio.

During the first decades of the nineteenth century, Connecticut resident Aaron Olmstead purchased land in the Connecticut Western Reserve. He later deeded this property to his son, Charles Hyde Olmstead. Charles Olmstead owned one of the largest book collections in the Connecticut Western Reserve. The five hundred books, wrapped in blue paper to protect them, were shipped in an ox cart overland from Connecticut to Lenox, Ohio. Most of these books were religious in nature, and several of them were water damaged on the trip to Ohio.

In 1823, Olmstead offered to give 125 of his books to the residents of Lenox if they agreed to rename the town Olmstead in honor of his father. The residents agreed. The letter "a" in Olmstead was eventually dropped and the community became known as Olmsted. The 125 books became known as the Ox Cart Library as a reminder of the books' trip from Connecticut. Several local residents housed the books and passed them along to their neighbors. The 125 volumes are currently housed in the North Olmsted Public Library.

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