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Carnegie Library, Prescott  (1903 - 1974)
Carnegie Library, Prescott
The Carnegie Library, Prescott's first public library, opened in 1903, due to the efforts of a woman's club called the Monday Club. Like women's clubs all over the state and nation, members took the initiative to build the cultural and educational life of their community by opening a free public library. Members secured the bulk of the funds from the Carnegie Foundation and raised additional monies to purchase books.

Region: North Central Arizona
Theme: Women in Community Building

The Prescott Woman's Club (which became the Monday Club) formed in 1895 and quickly acquired a membership of 79. Some of its members had also been active in the Prescott History Club and the Prescott Chautauqua Circle. One of the club's primary goals was to secure the funds to open a public library in Prescott. The women were also interested in creating a public space in town where alcohol was not served.

In 1899, Julia Goldwater, a member of the Monday Club, wrote to Andrew Carnegie, requesting funds to open a free public library. The Carnegie Foundation pledged $4,000 and stipulated that the remaining funds be donated by the community. The Monday Club succeeded in raising the additional monies, purchasing books and securing a building lot. However, their plans were stymied when in 1900 a fire destroyed the books that had been acquired for the library. The club pressed on and secured additional donated books and the library was constructed and opened in November of 1903.

Built in the Classical Revival style of brick and stone, the library was located in the heart of downtown Prescott, at the corner of Gurley and Marina Streets. It served as the Prescott Public Library until 1974 but now houses the offices of a lawyer, realtor and bail bondsman.

Prescott's Monday Club was one of five clubs that formed the Arizona Federation of Woman's Clubs in 1901. This federation focused on education and community improvement. Women beautified their communities through these clubs, improved their local schools, supported museums and educated themselves about community and national issues. Through these activities, their efforts helped shape the State of Arizona.

For more information, see archival records at the Sharlot Hall Museum and the Prescott Historic Preservation Office.

Photo Credits:
Carnegie Library - Courtesy of the Sharlot Hall Museum Archives

 

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