9 Westchester Square
1882-83, Frederick Clarke Withers; Addition, 1890-92, William Anderson

The Huntington Free Library and Reading Room is one of the earliest instituions on Westchester Square and was the first library building in this part of The Bronx. The original building was designed by Frederick Clarke Withers and completed in 1883. Born and educated in England, Withers became known for his Victorian Gothic designs, epitomized by his 1874 Jefferson Market Courthouse in Greenwich Village. Commissioned by the executors of the estate of tobacco merchant Peter C. Van Shaick, who left $15,000 for the construction of a free reading room for Westchester and in honor of his wife, Anna Mitchell Van Shaick, who died in 1876. The building sat vacant after the town government refused to accept the gift due to its limited endowment. In 1890, Collis Potter Huntington, a railroad magnate with a summer home in nearby Throggs Neck purchased the building, expanded it, and endowed it with funds to cover its operating expenses. The building is entered through an arched doorway set within a one-bay tower, which features a terra cotta plaque and rondels that commemorate Huntington’s donation. The Huntington Free Library was designated as a NYC Individual Landmark in 1994 as the “Van Shaick Free Reading Room / Huntington Free Library and Reading Room”.