On Books, #51

1887 Map of Wichita (Kansas Historical Society)

Cultural development is considered by most twentieth-century urban areas a fairly important function of local government. In Wichita in the 1870s, however, it was definitely a frill. No one seriously suggested anything like a city-supported art museum, and even the public support of a library was controversial. In 1878, the state legislature of Kansas authorized Wichita to donate two thousand dollars to aid in building a library, but the city council objected to becoming involved. Instead the library was run by a private library association, which had a bookcase built in 1878 to house its one-thousand volumes. For a time the city provided housing for the library, but the association soon had to rent quarters. As a result, the Library’s funds were limited, and it was open only on Wednesday and Saturday afternoons.
— H. Craig Miner, Wichita: The Early Years, 1865-80

Published in: on July 7, 2010 at 9:41 pm  Leave a Comment  

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