William K. Kohrs Memorial Library

Pioneer cattle baron Conrad Kohrs and his wife, Augusta, gave Powell County’s first public library building to the community of Deer Lodge in memory of their son, William, in 1902. William had gone to Columbia University in New York to study electrical engineering and died suddenly following an appendectomy in 1901. Conrad and Augusta Kohrs decided that a library would be a fitting tribute to him, since academic pursuits were integral to the community. A circulating library was established in Deer Lodge in 1869, and Montana Territory’s first institute of higher learning, the College of Montana, was founded at Deer Lodge in 1878. Using the libraries donated by entrepreneur Andrew Carnegie as a model, the family spent $30,000 constructing and furnishing the facility. Architects Link and Carter of Butte designed the building, drawing upon Classical Revival and Beaux Arts traditions. The use of the Beaux Arts style clearly points to the career directions of J. G. Link, later associated with the highly acclaimed Montana firm of Link and Haire. The design emphasizes contrasting textures of granite and Columbus sandstone, which conceal a superior inner brick, structural steel, and concrete framework. Dentils at the cornice line, a terra cotta tile roof, pedimented portico, and Ionic columns richly enhance the façade. The sumptuous interior features a central dome of colored glass, oak woodwork, and an exquisite memorial window titled “A Reading from Homer” given by William’s uncle, John Bielenberg. The library symbolizes the intellectual aspirations of Deer Lodge in 1902 and the significance of the Kohrs family to western Montana.



501 Missouri Avenue, Deer Lodge, Montana ~ Public