EARLY LIBRARY HISTORY
The town of Argentine had its beginning in 1880 when the first plat was
filed for an area to house workers for the Santa Fe Railroad and the
Kansas City Consolidated Smelting and Refining Company. In 1901, the
smelting company went out of business causing considerable
unemployment, and disastrous floods in 1903 and 1904 hit the town very
hard. By 1907, Argentine was actively seeking consolidation with
Kansas City, Kansas, but it was not until Jan. l, 1910, when consolidation occurred and Argentine became the Seventh Ward of Kansas City.
The first library movement was one supported by the Santa Fe Railroad
in the 1880s; it was discontinued when the Railroad Y.M.C.A. was
organized. In 1907, a proposal for a library was put forward by the
Argentine Activities Association, but this apparently came to naught.
In 1911, another effort began, headed by Professor W. W. Thomas, the
principal of Emerson School, and supported by the Hawthorne Club.
Although Argentinians could now use the Kansas City, Kansas, Public
Library in Huron Park, getting there was not half the fun: it required
a long streetcar ride by way of Kansas City, Missouri. Thus it was
suggested that a separate library be built in Argentine. Thomas
approached Argentine businessmen for support. Seventy-two individuals
and businesses contributed liberally to the cause, and a library with
some 1,500 books donated by the Kansas City, Kansas, Public Library,
was opened at 2226 1/2 Metropolitan Avenue. In May, 1912, the
Argentine Library was made a branch of the public library system.
THE CARNEGIE LIBRARY
At the instigation of Professor Thomas, the Seventh Ward Improvement
Association requested a grant from the Carnegie Corporation for the
construction of a library building. On July 20, 1914, the board of
education passed a resolution endorsing the grant request, and
eventually $25,000.00 was given for the construction of the second Carnegie library erected in Kansas City, Kansas.
The site selected for the new library was on the east side of Emerson
Park, halfway between Strong and Metropolitan Avenue and northeast of
Emerson School. The architects were Rose and Peterson who had also
designed the main library, but the Argentine building plan followed
what had become the standard Carnegie layout. Construction began in
1917, and the library was dedicated July 2 of that year; it opened July
DESCRIPTION OF THE BUILDING
The building is rectangular, one-story atop a raised basement, designed in the Neoclassical Revival style. The basement was clad in rough-faced limestone, with full size, double-hung windows aligned with those
in the first floor above. The basement was topped by a continuous
limestone sill at the first floor line, and the auditorium entry on the