The library is located in an old stone structure built between 1801 and 1818 to house the H. and B. Noble General Store. During the mid-1800s, it included a corner set aside for books available to the public on loan. Later, the building was made available to the Essex Free Library Association by the Noble family which retained the right to select members of the library’s board of trustees. The Belden H. Noble Library came into existence as the Essex Free Library in 1899 when it was granted a “provisional” charter by the University of the State of New York. It received “absolute” charter in 1906.