WSUís Carnegie library now just three columns

  THEN: The Carnegie Library was completed in 1909, funded by a $40,000 matching grant from Andrew Carnegie. (Photo credit: Peerless Princess of the Plains, Two Rivers Publishing Co., Wichita, KS, 1976, card 135) 
  NOW: All that remains of the original Carnegie Library are these three columns, which stand at the 17th Street and Fairmount Avenue entrance to the WSU campus. (Photo V Churchman)


  NOW: The Ulrich Museum was built in 1972 on the site of the original Carnegie Morrison Library. (Photo V Churchman)




Editorís Note: We usually research topics for Then and Now, then weave together Eagle and Beacon quotes with original comments. This article, however, is quoted almost entirely from the website

In 1904 President Nathan J. Morrison of Fairmount College applied for a grant from Andrew Carnegie to help build a library on the campus. By early 1905, the Collegeís request for $40,000 had been accepted by Carnegie on the condition that matching funds would be raised locally in twelve months. The locals responded quickly - including $2000 from 200 students - and President Morrison moved ahead on plans for the building. Sadly, President Morrison died in 1907 shortly after the groundbreaking for the building.

The cornerstone was laid March 10, 1908, in conjunction with the inauguration of Fairmount Collegeís second president, Henry E. Thayer. The building, situated at the head of Fairmount Avenue, faced south toward 17th Street. The Grecian-style building contained reading rooms and an office on the first floor and the Carter Room, Fairmount Library Club room and College Museum on the second. The architect was Albert Randolph Ross.

The Carnegie Library opened in January 1909, and it was formally dedicated on January 26, 1910. In 1911 a petition called for the Carnegie Library to be renamed for the late President Morrison who was largely responsible for its creation.

From 1911 to 1939, the Morrison Carnegie Library served the faculty, staff and students of Fairmount College and its successor, the University of Wichita. As enrollments increased, a larger library was deemed necessary, and Public Works Administration funds were secured to build another library on campus in 1938 and 1939.

Art and journalism classes were held in the Carnegie Library building until 1964 when it was destroyed by fire. The facade was left standing until 1973 when it was razed. Three columns were salvaged and placed in 1973 at the 17th Street and Fairmount Avenue. The Ulrich Museum was built on the original library site.