Kansas Public Libraries

Cities A-M

In the case of a state whose smallest cities are devolving into ghost towns, and whose tax base was slashed, it's difficult to find information on its remaining libraries. Some attempt was made to preserve its Carnegie library history, but I'm unaware of a similar effort for its other libraries.

Atchison

Still in use, with an addition.
Surrounding writing on its wall -

Left: Progress Art Culture.

Front: Religion (Atchison Library) Science.
Deco style with a distracting chimney (now gone) and a dressed limestone lower storey.

 

Henry McGrew Printing 'chrome' card.

Baxter Springs (Johnston Library)

This was meant to be, in 1872, a courthouse and jail. It never was, and in 1905, Peter Nils Johnston believed the city to be better served by a library. 

(Actually, he must have decided earlier, as his bequest funded the conversion.)

It's still in use.

 

Commercial Colortype card. Recently I picked up an RPPC with the image used. Even the leaves are in the same positions.

Blue Rapids

This is the oldest library building in Kansas operated continuously as a library. In 2015,  its space was doubled.

The photo postcard was a Loomis product.

Burlington (Kelley Library)

This Library (ca. 1875) was replaced by a Carnegie building in 1912. In the absence of evidence that it was saved, I am assuming it was demolished.

 

The card, with misspelled caption, was mailed in 1910.

Cawker City

One-room limestone building, dating from 1884. It was not replaced until 1970. It's now a museum.

 

The card is from Clay Center Engraving.

Colby

Colby has endured a gap in library services. The 1911 iteration closed in 1926. Then, the Colby Public Library opened in another building, moving to City Hall in 1936.


Replaced in 1964 by the Pioneer Memorial Library.

 

This is really an odd building. The foundation is limestone, but the upper section may be cement block. The overhang is a neon sign, like something from a dance hall or small theatre. 

1-79 is typed on the plate, but unless this is a reprint, it's probably not the date. And although this is a standard postcard size, the reverse is blank.

Pioneer Memorial Library

Here's the 1964 iteration (top). It has had several minor renovations and improvements over the years.

 

This is a Dexter Press postcard.

 

 

Horton

Still in use, with the additions of a new awning, a bike rack, and a trash can. It's very close stylistically to the Classical Revival Carnegie plan. Mrs. Daisy L. Pressey is the heroine who kept the Library going until the PWA built this gem.

 

Although the card was mailed in 1956 (air conditioning date!), it may date back to the 1930s, or else Hortonians were adept at maintaining their vehicles.

Hutchinson

E.C. Kropp postcard, never mailed.

 

Replaced the Carnegie library, ca. 1946.

Much of the architecture of the 1940s was very utilitarian, but still handsome. I especially like the raised aluminum letters and the clock on this example, which may still be in use.

Junction City
Ladies Reading Club House

No real information about this Romanesque building. For the postcard, published by R.O. Thomen (entire back, signifies that it dates to 1907 or earlier.), see my Ladies' Libraries page.

George Smith Public Library

(L) Early Curt Teich card, mailed in 1918.

(R) Interior of the Library, with fantastic details: the service desk, the card catalog, tied stacks, potted palms, and a globe.

Window placement makes me believe that the library was housed in the upstairs.

Kinsley

Mid-Century Modern.

According to its web site, its roots date back to 1885, but as a city library, to 1927.

Although this library looks like a school, it's a combination city hall and library, built in 1954. No accessibility issues here!
The library is still in use.

 

Card by W.C. Pine, of Independence, MO.

La Crosse (Barnard Library)

Built in 1937 for scholar-librarian Howard Barnard. Still in use, with addition.

The postcard, mailed in 1956, actually looks older than 1937. There is a school building in the background.

Larned (Cummins Memorial Library)

(L) A.B. Sykes postcard, mailed in 1914.

(R) Curt Teich postcard, with unusual typo (Cummin's)

 

Opened in 1915, demolished ca. 1972 for the Jordaan Memorial Library. The new building looks smaller than the old.

Liberal

(L) Chrome card from Kansas Distributing.
(R) Dexter Press card, also post-1959 remodeling.

 

It was remodeled again in 1988.

Isn't this one of the most fabulous library facades ever? Architect George L. Pitcher constructed it out of concrete in 1954. In addition to the mock Statue of Liberty, the left-most statue is named 'Pioneer Mother.'

Mt. Hope

Clearly (or blurrily) a reprint, part of a mid-1960s series for the town. There is no evidence on the building that this held anything except city hall. It is dated 1960.

The Library now is housed in better quarters. This building seems to have had a second story added, judging from its window placement.

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Contact me at (my first name) at roadmaps (dot) org.

 

Scanned images are provided in the spirit of scholarly study. Most are of an age to be in the public domain. However, if you use my scans, please credit this site.