The Hanford Carnegie Library
Looking for a bit of “culture” in the late 1880’s Hanford, a group of early Hanfordites established a Free Reading Room Association located on the second floor of building at the corner of Douty and 7th Streets, now Brown’s Shoe Store. Volunteers brought in over 800 of their own books for this new “lending” library.
In 1891, the City of Hanford incorporated, and the library was turned over to the city. At that time, Andrew Carnegie was giving grants of $10,000 to establish libraries in the United States. James Robinson, who has met Andrew Carnegie while in Scotland, made an appeal for a grant to build Hanford’s first permanent library building. Carnegie granted the money for the library, but the ladies of the lending library did not think it was enough money; so, they asked for $15,000. This caused great controversy, but the brave ladies persisted in the goal. They were finally awarded $12,500 to build their new library. On August 12, 1905 the library cornerstone was laid by the Mason’s, and building began.
The Carnegie Library was open until 1968 when the city and county libraries were combined; and, the collections were moved to the present library across form Superior Dairy. Fearing the Carnegie would be torn down, a group of concerned citizens headed by Maud Montgomery, Dan Humason and Louise Shelton fought to raise money to save and restore the Carnegie. In 1975, the Carnegie opened its doors as a museum.