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About The Library

The Flower Library - called 'The most beautiful small library in the United States' -  was erected by Mrs. Emma Flower Taylor in memory of her father, ex-Governor Roswell P. Flower, and presented the City of Watertown November 10 1904.  


One of nine children, Roswell P Flower was born in Theresa in 1835. Flower served as Watertown's Assistant Postmaster, jeweler, renowned Wall Street Banker and politician. He was first a Congressman (1881-1890) and then became Governor of New York (1891-1894)

Married to Sarah Woodruff, daughter of well known Watertown merchant, banker and builder, Norris Woodruff, Roswell P Flower was the father of three children: Helen Flower, Henry Keep Flower and Emma Flower Taylor.  He died in 1899 and Emma Taylor, his only surviving child, donated the land the library stands on and the building itself to the City of Watertown in his memory.   
Read MORE on Ex-Governor Flower...


The Roswell P Flower Memorial Library is a magnificent structure and source of knowledge and resources to all who visit made possible through the generosity of Mrs Emma Taylor Flower

"The Flower Memorial Library is unique in that every embellishment is a record of something of importance to Jefferson County.  It was a daring thought of the designer to establish such restrictions for artistic inspiration, but the result justifies the idea."

These words were spoken at the library dedication ceremony in 1904 and reflect the importance of this beautiful building to the residents of Watertown and Jefferson County.  Decorator Charles Rollison Lamb's beautiful and harmonious design has delighted visitors ever since.

The building is in the Grecian style with some Roman features.  It is massive and dignified and characteristic of the man in whose memory it was built. 

The main architectural feature is the rotunda which features bronze zodiac signs inlaid in the marble floor while on the dome above figures of history, romance, religion,  and science are separated y fable, drama, lyric and epic poetry.  The inscription on the frieze under the dome reads "To know wisdom and instruction: to perceive the words of understanding."

To the right and left of the rotunda on the first floor are two large and beautifully decorated reading rooms as well as two display areas which feature local author Marietta Holley and an exhibit of items associated with the French emigres to the north country.

The south reading room contains a full length portrait of Governor Flower, while the north reading room features Ella Conde Lamb's oil painting THE OPEN BOOK. 

Two staircases lead from the rotunda to the mezzanine and murals by George W Breck and H Peabody Flagg as well as paintings donated by various benefactors over the years.

The cost of the building with decorations was $250,000.  The cornerstone was laid 7/11/1903 by Mrs Taylor with prayer by Rev. Archdeacon Joiner and address by Mr S F Bagg.   The architects were Orchard, Lansing & Joralemon of Niagara Falls, supervising architect Mr A F Lansing.  The artist-architect was Mr Charles Rollinson Lamb and Interior Decorators were J & R Lamb