The library described in Proper Goodbye is patterned after Warder Public Library, a landmark in my hometown, Springfield, Ohio. The structure is an example of the Richardsonian-Romanesque style of architecture. Warder Public Library was completed in 1890 and presented to the city of Springfield as a gift from wealthy industrialist and philanthropist, Benjamin H. Warder.
Warder dedicated the building to the memory of his parents. A memorial plaque on the building reads:
"This library has been erected in memory of Jeremiah and Ann A. Warder by their son Benjamin Head Warder. It is given to the people of Springfield for their free enjoyment and is left in their charge forever. Dedicated June 12th, 1890."
Warder Public Library served as the Clark County library system’s main branch from 1890 until 1989, when the new library opened.
Today, Springfield elders still hold possession of this fabulous building and are entrusted to preserve it as a location dedicated to reading. Springfield’s citizens have free use of it, just as Benjamin Warder intended.