Monday, October 1, 2012

Lawrence, Kansas

I visited this Carnegie Library in Lawrence, Kansas in September 6, 2001. The library had been the Lawrence Arts Center since 1975 but I understand that shortly after my visit it was taken over the the Parks and Recreation Department.  In January of 2011 the Lawrence Parks and Recreation Department began operating the facility, once again making it available for public use. Destination Management and the Freedom’s Frontier National Heritage Area has offices in the facility, as well as exhibit space to display historical information about Lawrence and the surrounding area.

This Carnegie Library was constructed at 200 W. 9th Street in 1904 with a grant of $27,000 from Andrew Carnegie. During the 1930’s an addition was build to accommodate the growing volume of books and materials. It served as the Lawrence public library until a new library was constructed in 1972. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1975



I found this description of the Lawrence Carnegie Library on the website The Carnegie Legacy in Kansas.

The Carnegie library is rectangular, a one-story brick structure with a raised basement measuring approximately 75' x 35'. The south facade with its Neoclassical style boasts of a portico which occupies the center third of the library's front. Two Corinthian columns flank the entrance on either side. The exterior of the building is of pressed buff brick on a five foot Warrensburg stone foundation. A brick parapet extends above the roof line and no part of the flat roof is visible to the viewer. The entablature is Corinthian in design. An ornate terra cotta pediment is situated on the parapet wall directly above the entrance and bears the date 1904.


I always look for a date on the libraries.  This one is high atop above the entrance.



MVC-097SMore history found on the Carnegie Legacy in Kansas:

Peter E. Emery was responsible for leading citizens to secure a gift from Andrew Carnegie, enlisting the support of U. S. Representative J. D. Bowersock, of Lawrence. Carnegie offered $27,500.00 on May 31, 1902. At the April 7, 1903, election, voters approved placing the library under the state law and to levy a tax. Mrs. Chas. P. Grovenor, as a memorial to her late husband, donated the site for the building at the northwest corner of Vermont and [now] Ninth Streets. In May, 1903, the library board selected George A. Berlinghof, of Beatrice, Nebraska, as its architect. The building was modeled after the Carnegie library in Beatrice, a fact that is not surprising since the architect lived there. [What is surprising, though, is that the picture labelled as "Public Library Lawrence" in the 1902 Handbook of Kansas Libraries is actually that of the Beatrice City Library!]
The contract was awarded to George A. Shaul of Seneca, Kansas, on July 30, 1903. Because of delays the building was not completed until December, 1904, and the project cost a total of $27,412.00. The library was formally opened December 26, 1904.

Note:  When we visited this Carnegie we had just begun following the Oregon Trail.  Five days later while we were stopped to see the covered wagon wheel ruts in Nebraska we were stunned to watch the events of the terrorist attacks of September 11th unfold.

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