Reddick Mansion as a Public Library
In accordance with William Reddick’s wishes as expressed in his will, the Reddick Mansion became the library for the city of Ottawa, opening on September 19, 1888. For over 85 years, the Reddick Library housed Ottawa’s literary collection, and for some time, a natural history museum, thus serving the educational needs of the community.
Many changes were made during the period that the building was the city library. Electricity, steam heat, and indoor plumbing were all installed. Stacks were added where needed, and walls were removed and some were added.
Initially, the lower floor was home to the library’s caretaker, while the librarians lived on the third floor. In 1917, the lower floor was renovated to house the library’s Juvenile Department. Eventually, the third floor became the library’s Reference Department.
In the 1970s, it became apparent that the library had out-grown its home at the Reddick Mansion. After a new Reddick’s Library was built on reclaimed canal land several blocks west of the Mansion, the deed for the property was signed over to the city. In October of 1975, the Reddick Mansion Association was chartered as a non-profit corporation in charge of the restoration, maintenance, and operation of the property. The Association leases the building from the city.
Pictured to the left is Lorraine McCallister, age 4, with her mother Joanne McCallister. The picture was taken for the newspaper in 1960 to advertise the Reddick Library’s annual summer reading program. Lorraine is a current member of the RMA Board of Directors.
Listed on the National Register of Historic Sites as part of the Washington Square Historic District, the Reddick Mansion remains open to the public as an historical landmark.
Click here for a description of the William Reddick and Education.