The official dedication of the Armstrong Memorial Building took place on January 4, 1899, at two o'clock in the afternoon. Reverend James P. Harper opened the ceremony with a prayer, which was followed by an address given by Leonard A. Morrison as the president of the day's events. Morrison proclaimed that the act of presenting the building to the town had the "immutable stamp of an earthly immortality upon it." He continued on saying "We, with all our hands have wrought, and all our hearts have loved, must pass away; but this building and this library, we hope, will not pass away. Other hands will tend it; other feet will press the gravelly road to reach this favored spot..." The next address scheduled for the day was given by Hon. Albert E. Pillsbury of Boston, MA, who had previously served as the attorney general of Massachusetts; Pillsbury had an ancestral connection to Windham, being a descendant of the Dinsmoor family. His speech, which was relatively long in comparison with Morrison's, was followed by an address by William H. Anderson, who spent the early part of his life on the Anderson family homestead near Beaver Brook. Anderson opened his speech by saying "It is hardly fair to introduce me as one who will 'make an address,' when, in your letter inviting me to be present, you said that I could speak, on the express condition that I would talk for only five minutes; and I had fully determined to conform to that condition to the letter..." The length of the speech suggests that he was true to his word in the brevity of his address.
Reverend Augustus Berry of Pelham was the next speaker to address the crowd at the town center, speaking of the importance of the newly constructed library. George Washington Armstrong spoke very briefly when Reverend Berry concluded his speech, after which Reverend Harper, a trustee of the Nesmith Library, addressed the audience for the second time that day. William Calvin Harris then presented the resolutions, which were unanimously adopted on that day; a finely engraved copy of the resolutions were then presented to Armstrong. The audience then sang "America", after which the day's exercises were concluded with a blessing by Reverend Berry. Everyone who had gathered at the town center that day then had a chance to enter the building for the first time; many of George Armstrong's friends and associates were present. Those who came to Windham in the company of Armstrong, left for Boston on the 5:15 train that departed from Canobie Lake.
Those interested in reading the original book detailing the history of the building, along with several illustrations, may do so by using the link below:
Derek Saffie is an avid Windham historian who enjoys researching and sharing his collection with all those interested in the history of the New England town.