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The York County Library System will make a substantial investment to give one of its buildings in downtown York City a complete facelift.

Restoration experts from The Witmer Group in Mount Joy will work stone-by-stone to remove, repair and replace the existing stonework on a historic brownstone that is connected to Martin Library, said Susan Davidson-Linton, vice president of finance for the York County Library System.

Restoration workers also will fix woodworking and windows to weatherize the building at 153 E. Market St, Davidson-Linton said.

The project has a budget of nearly $800,000, Davidson said, and renovations on the 150-year-old building are expected to be completed by mid-September.

Prior lives: Since the libraries acquired the historic brownstone 15 years ago, staff members have been trying to map out the building’s history, Davidson-Linton said.

After the building was donated to the York County Library System by the Susquehanna Broadcasting Co. in 2002, staff found photos showing the basement of the brownstone being utilized as a restaurant, Davidson-Linton said, which got library workers wondering.

While the brownstone underwent a complete interior overhaul between 2002 and 2005, the library system invited locals to share their memories of the building, which brought to light the building’s eclectic past.

Davidson-Linton said she learned that the building was built by railroad car manufacturer David Etters Small in 1866 and that the first librarian of Martin Library had been raised by her sister in that building.

Davidson-Linton said she can remember getting her school photos taken in the 1970s at the photography studio set up in the brownstone.

Since 2005, the brownstone has served as office space for Martin Library staff, and the building’s first-floor parlor room, which includes paintings from world-renowned artists, has been utilized as public meeting room, Davidson-Linton said.

After significant renovations, the brownstone nearly doubled the floor space of Martin Library, allowing for the construction of a large atrium and additional office space for employees and archives, Davidson-Linton said.

York County Libraries staff are again putting out a call to county residents, asking them to share their memories and stories of the brownstone building on the Martin Library Facebook page.

“We invite you to celebrate this renovation with us, acknowledging the historic magnificence of the brownstone building that our community calls home,” York County Libraries President and CEO Robert Lambert said in a news release. “Please share your memories of this 150-year-old historic landmark.”

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