History of the Library
Located off the beaten path in the residential area of town, the Denny Ashby Library is housed in a beautiful, turn-of-the-century building. Constructed in 1909 by Frank Cardwell for use as a residence, it was owned by Walter and Grace Robinson for a year before being purchased by John J. and Mary Ashby.
Mary Denny Ashby was the daughter of John Fletcher Denny, a prominent Oregon pioneer. Her uncles, David T. Denny and Arthur Denny were among the first settlers of the land that became the city of Seattle.
John J. and Mary Ashby had two children, both of whom died early. Jennie, born in Weston, Oregon on December 23 1873, passed away at the Ashby's home on Falling Springs in July of 1887, at the age of fourteen. It was believed that she suffered from organic heart disease.
J.D. Ashby, also know as Denny, was born February 8, 1876 on Pataha Flat and was the first person born in Garfield County to receive a Bachelor of Arts degree.
(Back) John Ledgerwood, Emma Noble, Orville McFeron, Winnie Hull, Peter Gerhardt, Minnie Allen, (Front) Will Morris, Tom Allen, Professor Yerkes, and Denny Ashby.
Denny attended Idaho University, the University of Portland, and graduated from Wesleyan University in Montana. In 1900 he entered the New York Homeopathic Medical College and would have received his degree in 1905.
Tragedy struck, however, on Aug. 21, 1904 during a vacation with his fiancée, Miss Oughtred, on Oak Island Beach, near Fire Island, New York. The young couple had planned to become medical missionaries, but Miss Oughtred was caught by a huge wave while swimming. Denny tried to save her, but both were drowned.
John Ashby died in 1914, leaving his entire estate to his wife, Mary. She died in 1923 and left the use of the home to her sister, Alice F. Grueb, with the provision that upon her sister's death, the property was to be given to the city of Pomeroy for use as a public library in memory of her son. The city acquired the property in January of 1925.
Three years passed before a library was started. The city eventually relegated that responsibility to the Civic Club, with the club agreeing to finance and operate the library for a term of five years, and the city agreeing to pay for the upkeep of the building.
On June 1, 1928, Mrs. J.T. Ledgerwood opened the library, using her own books as the library's first collection. The Civic Club operated the library until 1935, when it could no longer meet the financial burden. At that time, the city leased the building to the county, and a library board was established.
Until April of 1999, half of the building served as the librarian's living quarters. In the winter of 2002-2003 the residential half of the building was remodeled to better serve library purposes with funding from the Shepherd Foundation. The remodel was done under the supervision of Rich Cardwell from the Seattle firm, Cardwell Architects. Rich, whose firm was awarded an AIA/ALA Library Building Award in 2003 for work on the University of Washington's Suzzallo Library, was born in Pomeroy and donated his time to the Denny Ashby Library remodel project.
The library currently houses a collection of over 10,000 books and assorted multimedia items.
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1:00pm ~ Coloring Group
6:30pm ~ Pomeroy Needleworkers
6:30pm ~ Essential Oils Class