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  Table of Contents about Andrew Carnegie About Allen Gardiner, author of The Carnegie Legacy in Kansas Further information about Libraries featured in this book Carnegie Legacy in Kansas logo: Link that takes you to the home page  


The first library movement in Lawrence was the "Athaeneum" literary association which received books from Amos A. Lawrence and Mrs. Mary Webb of Boston, in January, 1855, but it had fallen "into abeyance" by December, 1856. O. Wilmarth had a circulating library in his bookstore in 1856. In 1857 a group of attorneys attempted to establish an "Institute and Lyceum," and in 1860 there was citizen effort to establish a library. All of these early attempts were short-lived. In 1865 J. S. Boughton started a private lending library after Quantrill's raid and the sacking of Lawrence in 1863 had destroyed the original library's books. Boughton furnished a free reading room and in 1866 got the Lawrence Library Association to purchase his books and fixtures for $500.00. By 1871, the library was turned over to the city and the city council had assumed responsibility for its operation.
Carnegie Library: Lawrence, 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.
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.