Tonkawa Public Library – Tonkawa

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Address:  Seventh and North Streets, Tonkawa, Oklahoma 040, Kay County 071  Country  Kay
Started:  1935 Completed  1935

Current Usage


The Tonkawa Public Library is a single-story, almost square (59′ x 56′) structure constructed of rusticated and cut native stone laid in a random coursed ashier pattern. The roof is flat with parapet. The west entrance is a single doorway centrally located on a protruded segment of the building. The door is new and is shaded by a metal awning. Fixed metal windows with stone lintels and lug sills are spaced singly or in pairs. The upper portions of the walls are decorated with stone friezes, pilasters, and archways. The library retains its architectural integrity.
The Tonkawa Public Library is significant as an excellently preserved F .E.R.A. project, a predecessor of the WPA. The building also serves as an example of the national government’s concern with aiding in the development of educational centers. Construction of the building provided a sense of optimism to the community in addition to creating short-term jobs for unemployed workers during the Depression. As a project associated with the WPA, the library is significant for its type, style, workmanship, materials, and state of preservation. Within the community, the structure is unique in terms of its type and workmanship.[1]

VERBAL BOUNDARY DESCRIPTION: Lots 30, 31, and 32, Block 7, Tonkawa original.

The Federal Emergency Relief Administration (FERA) was a predecessor to the WPA and constructed this building in 1935.

It is a one-story building constructed of rusticated and cut native sandstone set in a random ashlar pattern. The property description in the Oklahoma Historical Society database appears to describe the north section of this building, a portion measuring 59 x 56 feet. The original entrance facing West is centered in a projected bay, and is currently a fixed window. Above this original entrance is a stone block reading “1935 / Tonkawa Public Library”. All windows are metal-framed fixed units. Three faux arched windows units are located on the upper wall on each side of this section. The roof is flat. On the northwest corner of the building is a concrete block stating simply “FERA”.

A larger portion of the building has been added in later years. It is constructed similarly and gives the building a unified look. From the aerial photo in the gallery, it is easy to identify the original portion from the later extension.

The building is still in use as the Tonkawa Public Library and is open Mon-Thurs from 10-6; Wed from 12-7 and Sat from 10-1.[3]


  1. Oklahoma Landmarks Inventory Nomination
  2. The Living New Deal –
  3. –

Supported Documents:

  1. WPA Properties Kay County – Tonkawa Library


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