Samuel Simpson was a successful silver industrialist and a strong political figure in Wallingford and one of his greatest historic contributions to this town was providing the funds to buy the land and build the first public library. His passion for this project was due to his daughter. She was instrumental in renting a place on Main Street for women to gather, collect books, and raise money for causes. In 1882 a special act of legislation was passed known as The Ladies Library and Reading Room Association.
Unfortunately, his daughter passed away at the age of 41 and Mr. Simpson wanted to memorialize his daughter by building the library in her honor (1894-1899). As you enter the foyer of the building and climb the grand staircase you will see the beautiful stain glass windows with the dates of 1882-1899. There is also a plaque as you enter the front double wooden doors dedicating the library to his daughter.
The Library closed its doors in 1982 and moved up the street to a larger location. The old library building was purchased and turned into office space. The owners of the building and their handyman were regulars at Joe Gouveia's coffee shop, and when the handyman became ill, Joe helped clean and take care of the old library. Joe would bring his 4 year old daughter Amanda with him where she would set up books and empty book shelves and practice her reading. Today, Amanda is a school librarian.
Joe bought the cleaning service from the handyman and cleaned Wallingford's schools and businesses for over 25 years. In that time, he would bring his younger daughter Allison to a piece of farm land to have picnics under two large maple trees. He would tell her his dream of buying farm land to plant a vineyard like his family had in Portugal. Ten years after the opening of Gouveia Vineyards, the Gouveia family was inspired to bring the vacant old library back to life.
After many months of gruelling restoration, the building has skillfully been restored to its natural glory. Modern conveniences have been hidden in the woodwork and details meticulously crafted to highlight the historic architecture from the turn of the century.
The Gouveia Family hopes you will enjoy fresh local ingredients and Mediterranean cuisine while dining in one of Wallingford's most beautiful landmarks.