Napoleon is a small city in northwest Ohio beautifully located on the banks of the Maumee River in Henry County, Ohio.
The town was platted October 15, 1834 and became the county seat in 1837. The population of the entire county was only 232 in 1830, had grown to 566 in 1850 and 2,018 in 1870.
Much of the region was under the water of Lake Erie and was so level that drainage presented a serious problem. The "Black Swamp" in this area was the last of the state to be settled. Once it was drained and the Miami and Erie Canal linked the Ohio River and Lake Erie, the village grew rapidly. The canal era was short lived; however, improved highways and railways continued the town's growth.
Library service in Napoleon began on April 17, 1906 when two parlors in the home of T.G. Clay were used for a public reading room. It was open every evening except Saturday and Sunday.
Over a period of years the library had several different homes. A grant from Andrew Carnegie was received and the Carnegie building provided a permanent home for the library. It was formally dedicated on July 14, 1913.
In 1965 the St. Paul Lutheran School was purchased and remodeled and opened its doors on August 2, 1965. The Carnegie Building is used as an annex for housing the older periodicals and books.
The McClure school district joined the Napoleon school district in 1967; consequently, the McClure Community Library became a branch of Napoleon Public Library. The McClure Community Library was located in the former McClure School Building.
After the closing of the Florida school the community wished to retain a library; so the Napoleon Public Library trustees voted to open a public library in the school and in May, 1982, the library became a reality.
In 1994, Rupp Rosebrock, Inc. designed and built an addition to the present Napoleon library. Our library is now handicapped accessible with an elevator, new restrooms, and more space.
Automation of the library was completed in 1997. The project was funded with the monies received from the estate of Merle Warden. Internet access is available through OPLIN (Ohio Public Library Information Network). An upgrade to the system was executed in March of 2006.
Beginning in 2000, the Library Board concentrated on branch development in Florida and McClure.
In the fall of 2000, the Library Board purchased the former St. Peter's Evangelical Lutheran Church located at the corner of State Route 424 and County Road 17-D from Laura A. Bechtol. Jerry Overmier of Beilharz Architects was hired to oversee the project. Moving day was Monday, December 3, 2001. The building's original stained glass windows, copper ceiling, and pulpit have been retained. An open house was held in May of 2002.
Dr. and Mrs. Wilson (Brenda) Stough donated property in McClure, Ohio to the Napoleon Public Library. The Library Board then purchased adjacent land from Mr. and Mrs. Robert Brown and plans were underway to build a new McClure Community Library.
Lee Short of Archbold, Ohio, was hired as the architect for the McClure Community Library project on March 5, 2002. Size of the new library is approximately 2600 square feet. Moving day was May 28, 2003. An open house was held May 20, 2004.
Napoleon Public Library celebrated its one hundred year anniversary April 17, 2006 with an open house, radio spots, refreshments, and fun.