Located in the shadow of the 6 train station at busy Westchester Square, the Huntington Free Library and Reading Room is a throwback to a time when the neighborhood was known as the Town of Westchester, located in Westchester County.

The historic Bronx building opened in 1891 as a privately endowed library named for railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, who helped fund its completion.

What You Need To Know

  • The Huntington Free Library and Reading Room is a historic library located in the Westchester Square section of the Bronx

  • It first opened in 1891

  • It is named for railroad magnate Collis P. Huntington, who lived in the Bronx

  • When the library first opened, the area was still part of Westchester County

"It was built several years before the first branch of the New York Public Library was built in the Bronx," Angel Hernandez, president of the library and a noted Bronx historian, said.

The library specializes in Bronx history. It was closed for three years mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic, but is now welcoming neighbors and researchers back by appointment as the library reaches a turning point.

After receiving the first public funding in its history from the state Senate last year, Hernandez says major projects like repairing the roof and improving accessibility for visitors with disabilities are scheduled.

"We want to continue increasing our archives. We want to continue increasing our book collection. We want to continue to be that rich historic Bronx resource that it has been for so many years," Hernandez said.

There is damage from a recent break-in at the building, which prompted a costly security overhaul.

There is a vacant building next to the library that once housed the Huntington family's collection of Native American artifacts. Hernandez hopes demolition of that building and construction of a new one will put a stop to future break-ins.   

"If we can have some activity there, especially some construction, some construction gates, maybe some temporary lighting, it would absolutely be a deterrent for any break-ins to this historic landmark," Hernandez said.