Ponca City Library – Ponca City

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Address:  515 E Grand Ave, Ponca City, Oklahoma 746601 Country  Kay
Started:  1933 Completed  1935

Agencies: 

PWA

Current Usage: 

City Library and Museum

Description:


“The city erected the new building which is one and part two stories in height. It contains a reading room for adults, a junior reading room, children’s room, reference room, delivery room, workroom, and a librarian’s room, as well as the necessary stack space.

It is a semifireproof structure with light-colored brick walls elaborately trimmed with terra cotta. The foundation walls and floors are reinforced concrete.

The project was completed in December 1935 at a construction cost of $80,019 and a project cost of $100,644.”[1]

In 1935, the City purchased additional land, with a grant from the Public Works Administration, to build an 18,000 square foot facility in the previous library’s location. Another important milestone was marked in 1989 with the complete renovation of the building and a 10,000 square foot addition. The 1989 addition respects the character and integrity of the older facility, and the new area has been carefully planned to complement the grace and grandeur of the original structure. The buff brick masonry of the 1935 building was continued in the expansion, as are several of the distinctive features of the original architecture: including, the arches over the Grand Avenue entrance, the ornate terra cotta windows, and the high ceilings.[2]

Personal Notes:

Visited the library and found the following information:

The original library was completed in 1910 when the members of the Twentieth Century Club form a club for “book exchange”, for several years the club held library teas and raised $700 to purchase lots on the southwest corner of 5th and Grand Ave. Then they gave these lots to the city for the purpose of a library. They then wrote to Andrew Carnegie to request money from the Carnegie Library Fund, which they received in the amount of $6500 grant. By 1928 the building had outgrown it’s usage and more space was needed, so a $100,000 bond was put forth as a vote, which it was defeated by 36 votes even though most leaders in the community favored the proposal. With the oil boom which increased Ponca City’s population in 1930 to be the 7th largest city in the state the library was booming as well with an average of more than 8 books per person loaned. So in 1933 a group of women representing every active civic group in Ponca City went to the City Commission with petitions signed by several hundred people asking the commission to apply for a government PWA loan of $100,000 to build a new library. This action worked because the government loan was granted. A Chamber of Commerce Library Committee was formed and planning for the new library began. On March 23, 1934, the people passed the library bond issue by a two to one margin, thus the committee was to begin work with G.J. Cannon, a local architect, on the design of the building. The Ellis, Nicholson and Cramer Construction Companhy of Oklahoma City was selected to build the library, and all agreed the exterior of the building would be cream and buff bricks with terra cotta trim, since the municipal building directly across Grand Avenue was in this style. In 1935, the city dedicated its new library as a “silver jubilee” occasion. Articles highlighting the construction of the new library with a Spanish exterior and Gothic interior were published in newspapers and professional journals, consequently, many cities around the county requested copies of the library plan. According to Jesse L. Rader, then head of the Library School at University of Oklahoma, the Ponca City Libray was “probably the best in the State”. Except for a few interior changes, the library building remained the same for the next 50 years. [3]

Sources:

  1. The Living New Deal
  2. Ponca City Information
  3. The Ponca City Library 1904-1989 The Building, by Pat Pugh, September 10, 1989

Supported Documents:

  1. WPA Public Buildings – Ponca City Library (page 132)

Photos: