The Pinney Library Owes its Legacy to a Madison Mayor
by Kenneth House, age 15
The first public library in the state of Wisconsin, called the Free City Library, was opened in Madison on the date of June 1, 1875. Madison Mayor, Silas Pinney, who came up with the idea, is still honored through the amazing network of public libraries we have today, including the Pinney Branch Library.
Pinney moved to Madison in 1846. He was privately educated, and began to practice law in the Madison office of Vilas and Remington in 1853. Pinney was known as a master of correct legal procedure. He documented the decisions of the Supreme Court from the years 1836 to 1853. The Free City Library opened June 1, 1875, even though it rained that evening, people still came to support the library opening.
The new Pinney Library, named after Silas Pinney, is now located at 204 Cottage Grove Road right next to Walgreens. It is an amazing library. It has a calm environment with very nice staff members. After school, you can go to the Pinney Library and do your homework, then reward yourself with nice computer games after you finish. Or, you can pick a quiet area and read an interesting book. The library is more than just shelves of books and a few movies. They have activities and programs as well. Some examples are movie night, study night, and chess club. I visit this library often and it’s in very good condition. It is a good place to read, do homework, or have quiet alone time.
The old Free City Library is no longer around, but the new Pinney library carries on its legacy.
[Sources: Great Pages in History From the Wisconsin State Journal; Wisconsin Historical Society]