Library History

Thomas Ford
Thomas Ford

Thomas Albert Ford was born in Fownhope, England on January 9, 1864. He came to Western Springs about 1903 and was a building contractor who specialized in stone houses.

He died of an infection from injuries that he received in a New York subway accident in October, 1928. Legend has it that he was on his way to pick up steamer tickets for a voyage back to Britain.

Edith Ford was active in the formation of the Library, which at the time of Mr. Ford’s death was housed in a storefront on Grand Avenue. Seeing this as an opportunity to make a significant civic contribution to Western Springs, she donated property and paid for building the library named for her husband. The library building at Wolf Road and Chestnut Street opened in 1932.

Thomas and Edith Ford’s son, Newell, served as a Library Trustee for many years; in 1957 he was named President Emeritus of the Library in honor and recognition of the many contributions that the Ford family made to the library.

Additions to the building were completed in 1962 and 1996. In both cases, Lannon stone from a quarry in Lannon, Wisconsin was used for the library exterior.

Portraits of Edith and Thomas Ford hang in the library. A binder with newspaper articles and family history is available at the Reference Desk.