Carnegie Library, Kalispell

East Side Historic District

Citizens organized the Kalispell Public Library in 1897 and reorganized it as the Free Library a few years later. Holdings included 772 circulating volumes and 269 reference works. In 1900, Kalispell banker J. Harrington Edwards met with the private secretary of New York philanthropist Andrew Carnegie to discuss funds for the construction of a library building. Carnegie agreed to donate $10,000 and the city promised to furnish the site plus $1,000 per year over the next decade for maintenance. Architect George Shanley drew the plans while his father, Bernard, won the contracting bid for $9,860. Constructed of gray sandstone from the Columbus quarries near Butte and pressed brick shipped by rail from Menominee, Wisconsin, the unusual Colonial Revival style building features a domed octagonal entry. Citizens flocked to the grand opening on January 12, 1904. The library boasted 4,500 volumes and, by 1921, that number had increased to 10,000. Carnegie’s gift served as Kalispell’s library until 1969 when its holdings were consolidated with the county library. This landmark building then acquired a new function as the Hockaday Center for the Arts, a non-profit community art center and museum.



302 2nd Avenue East, Kalispell, Montana ~ Public