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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Mystic Puzzle Therapy--relax at Mystic & Noank Library

The Mystic & Noank Library offers visitors a restful spot overlooking the Mystic River Valley to add pieces to their ongoing community puzzle (photo of puzzle by Cindy Modzelewski).

Voted the "8th Wonder of Mystic," the following is an excerpt from the Mystic Seafarer's Trail:

With the publishing of “The 7 Wonders” on the website of the Greater Mystic Chamber of Commerce came the inevitable complaints from the community regarding why I didn’t choose their favorite spot. I was particularly scolded for not choosing the Mystic & Noank Library—where the very soul of Mystic finds respite and the ghost of Emily the Cat still roams.

The Mystic & Noank Library was built in an eclectic mix of Italianate and Romanesque styles by Captain Elihu Spicer, a wealthy sea captain and Noank native. Because he wanted it to reflect some of the interesting things he’d seen on his voyages, he chose materials such as Italian tile mosaics and Numidian (huh?) marble from Africa. The library is crowned by gables with one-of-a-kind terracotta reliefs—medallions of Roman deities Minerva, goddess of wisdom and science, and Apollo, god of the arts.

That Apollo and Minerva, with their heads popping out of the roof, were beginning to frighten me. I used to think they were looking out to sea watching for the safe return of ships, but once they heard their library hadn’t been chosen, I could swear they were looking down at me—and plotting.

[A public vote was held for the 8th Wonder]...

Although Gloria the goose was initially in the lead, residents urged their neighbors to vote for their library with its stained glass windows, comfy window seat overlooking the valley, ceiling shaped like an upside-down hull, and the scrap book of Emily the Library Cat, which is kept next to the ongoing group puzzle. Although Emily died several years ago, librarians still love to tell visitors about the resident cat who waited by the elevator for patrons so she could catch a ride to the next floor. A guardian of the night, Emily also kept the library bat and cricket populations at bay. Emily is still nearby, but the crickets can chirp happily once again because she is sleeping harmlessly  under a bush on the library’s property.  Her little grave marker is etched with four paw prints and “Emily, 1989-2006.”

In the end, the Mystic & Noank Library was overwhelmingly voted the 8th Wonder. The Mystic residents and Roman gods, Apollo and Minerva, were happy once again. The homes along Captains’ Row and Gloria the Goose tied for second, Mystic Waterfront Views and Railroad Swing Bridge tied for third, Denison Homestead Museum (built in 1717 and continuously owned by the same family for three centuries) and Mystic River’s Art Trail (my term for the art galleries located between the Maritime Gallery at Mystic Seaport and the Mystic Arts Center) tied for fourth.[i] There were several other sites suggested in comments, such as Clancy, the paraplegic dog who pulled himself around town in a little cart.[ii]

[i] http://polldaddy.com/poll/4338240/

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