Hearst Free Library

West Side Historic District

Phoebe Hearst, wife of wealthy California senator George Hearst, had a special relationship with Anaconda. Hearst was one of Daly’s principal investors and Mrs. Hearst took an active interest in improving Anaconda’s cultural opportunities. She asked city fathers for suggestions. Receiving no reply, Mrs. Hearst proposed a library. Citizens agreed that was what they had in mind, but had not wanted to burden her with such a costly suggestion. Mrs. Hearst was touched by their sensitivity and financed Anaconda’s first “reading room” in 1895. It was so popular that she soon funded construction of this larger facility. San Francisco architect F. S. Van Trees designed the building; local builder J. C. Twohy completed it in 1898. The grand monument features classical granite columns, a heavy copper cornice, and graceful arched windows. Fine woodwork, brass railings, chandeliers, and an impressive fireplace adorn the richly finished interior. Mrs. Hearst financed the library until 1903 when the city accepted ownership. Listed in the National Register in 1973, this landmark is now a primary element in the historic district.

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401 Main Street, Anaconda, Montana ~ Public