Santa Cruz County History - Libraries & Schools



Felton Branch Library -- Faye G. Belardi Memorial
by Daniel McMahon

The structure that is now the Felton Branch Library was built as the Presbyterian Church in Felton in 1893. It was constructed in a traditional, New England style, and cost $1500. This church served the Presbyterians for 63 years until 1956, when a new and larger church was built nearby.

Photo of the Felton Presbyterian Church
Felton Presbyterian Church, Summer, 1927.



The road straight ahead is Gushee Street.
Pastor Edward J. Walker is on the right of the group of people.

[This photo is used with permission from the Sandy Lydon Collection.]

After the Presbyterians moved out of the building in January, 1955, it was sold to Nick and Faye G. Belardi, valley business people. They initially intended to dismantle the church and build a home on this scenic site. At the same time, the Felton branch of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries was looking for a new home. This branch's collection of books had been kept in a closet of the Felton Community Hall. Negotiations were underway with Mr. Belardi to purchase the church building, so that it could be moved to another site, and become the branch library.

In August of 1955, Faye Belardi was killed in an automobile accident. Her husband consequently gave the building and property to the citizens of Felton, stipulating that it should be used as a library or public meeting place, and that it be made a memorial to his wife, who had grown up in a house next door to the church building. Plans for the Faye G. Belardi Memorial Library moved ahead, and the building was dedicated as a library on April 15, 1956.

Photo of the the Dedication Ceremony
Library Dedication Ceremony, April 15, 1956.

 

 

The band in the foreground is the San Lorenzo Valley High School band.

[This photo is from the History of the Faye G. Belardi Memorial, at Felton Library.]

 

The Library as Seen from Felton-Empire Grade
Faye G. Belardi Memorial Library.
Postcard of the library in the mid-1960's

The church building celebrated its 40th anniversary as the Felton Branch of the Santa Cruz Public Libraries in April, 1996. The book collection grew from 2900 books in 1956, to 18,900 books in 1996. At 104 years of age, this is the oldest branch building in the City-County Library System, and is a major landmark in the town of Felton, California.

 


Copyright 1996 Daniel McMahon. Reproduced with the permission of the author.

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