The History of the Coatesville Area Public Library
The story of the Coatesville Area Public Library (CAPL) is forever intertwined with that of the City of Coatesville and Chester County. It is well known that while the town of Coatesville dates back to the 1700s, a major milestone in the history of the region began between 1830-1850 when the Pennsylvania Rail Road was completed and established a station “Midway” on the west side of the Brandywine. In 1867 that the village of Coatesville and the Village of Midway joined to form the Borough of Coatesville.
In 1877, 10 years after the inception of the Borough of Coatesville, Isabelle Lukens Huston founded the Coatesville Area Public Library. The library itself had humble beginnings, occupying several temporary locations, most notably in what was described as a ‘small shack’ on the site later occupied by Devitt’s Hardware. Isabelle and her family are integral in the history and development of Coatesville going as far back as 1810. They began Brandywine Iron Works & Nail Factory which is the predecessor to Lukens Steel Company and her mother Rebecca Lukens is Coatesville’s most celebrated historic figure.
In 1915, Coatesville by a majority vote of its citizens, became the first and only city in Chester County; as the City of Coatesville grew, CAPL grew as well. During the early 1940s CAPL was housed at a variety of locations, having rooms at the YMCA, the Benner School and the National Bank of Coatesville. In 1952, the Library purchased its first permanent location, the former Braunstein home on Lincoln Highway.
In 1974, 100 years after its inception, Dr. Michael C. Margolies donated land for the construction of a new permanent library building – where we currently reside.