Cheyenne Carnegie Library

By AHW Staff

July 12, 2017

The first library in Cheyenne was located in Central School in a relatively small room. A building committee for a new library was established in 1900. Robert C. Morris, son of Esther Hobart Morris, served as president of the new Library Auxiliary Association. The Cheyenne Woman’s Club helped raise money for furniture and equipment for the new library, which included a room for the Woman’s Club meetings. Local legend asserts that Mrs. Andrew Carnegie gave $500 to help furnish that room.

Cheyenne's Carnegie library was demolished in 1971. Pictured above is what it looked like shortly after it was completed.Cheyenne’s Carnegie library was demolished in 1971. Pictured above is what it looked like shortly after it was completed.

The architectural firm of Patton, Fisher, and Miller was chosen primarily Morris admired the Academy of Sciences building in Lincoln Park, Chicago, and wanted something similar for the Cheyenne Carnegie library.  William Dubois served as supervising architect for the project. He found Cheyenne so congenial that he set up his own practice there, and went on to become one of Wyoming’s most prolific and creative architects. If it were not for the Carnegie Library program or for Robert C. Morris’s very specific tastes, William Dubois might never have come to Cheyenne and the city might appear very different today had he not been assigned to the job.

The new facility was completed in 1902, and included a 240-seat auditorium, a 50,000 volume capacity stack room, art gallery, and two club rooms with space for meetings and quiet reading. The exterior featured a massive staircase leading to the entry, which many who visited as children still recall very clearly. In the words of one Cheyenne resident who visited the library as a child, “When you walked up that staircase, you just sort of got this majestic feeling, like you were going someplace extremely important.”

Cheyenne’s Carnegie library was demolished in 1971 when the Cheyenne branch of Laramie County Library received a new building.


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