The Veteran’s Memorial Library is housed in the first church to be built and is the oldest public building in Patten. The church was started with the help from people of all religious faiths in 1845 and was completed in 1848. In time, the different religions began to find meeting places of their own. This left the Baptist with the original building. One of the outstanding features of the church was the ceiling and walls, which were painted in many colors by traveling painters that journeyed at that time. The walls and ceilings in the back, still had the original paintings on them when the library was renovated in 1974.
When all the faiths were combined, there was one man who thought he was an authority on musical matters. As luck would have it, a new minister came to town who also thought he was an authority on music also. There was trouble between the two men for a long time. One Sunday morning after the services, the two men got into an argument. The building was heated by two large wood stoves near the doors. The sheet iron stove pipes rose from the stoves some eight or ten feet from the floor and ran forward over the aisles and turning at right angles just in front of the pulpit, joined a large vertical pipe which passed through the ceiling. The whole works was suspended from the ceiling by wires. It was always said that your head was hot and your feet were cold. On this day just at the climax of the dispute, the rusty wires parted and the whole agglomeration of wires and pipes came tumbling down on the heads of the two men. The crash of the falling metal and the rush of smoke put a sudden stop to the quarreling, much to the amusement of the more peaceful members of the congregation.
One Sunday morning at the start of the civil war, the soldiers attended service as a body in command of their officers. The pews in the center were reserved for them and after all the other people were seated, the soldiers marched in and took their places. The next morning, the men marched off to war.
The building became a library in 1928 with money friends gave to buy the building from the Baptist society, from then on the library has been housed in this building.
The Lumberman’s Museum was started in the back room of the library in the early 60’s with only a few pieces of early lumbering articles. It has now become nationally known.
The first real renovation was done in 1974. The back wall was removed to add more space. Four new bookcases were added, the walls patched and painted and a new lowered ceiling. The floor boards are the very wide lumber and is believed to be original.
Compiled by Christine Shorey