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KANSAS CITY
[ARGENTINE BRANCH]

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.
 
Carnegie Library: Kansas City Argentine Branch Library, Kansas

 
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 3.
 
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