In my wanderings around town, documenting the "Lost City of Colorado Springs" I stumbled upon the fragmentary remains of "private libraries" in town.  These were most prominent in the first half of the 20th century and have been replaced or absorbed by the Pikes Peak Library District (PPLD). 

While reading through the 1941 Springs Telephone Directory (which is quite an education in itself-separate article upcoming) I found under the yellow pages heading of "Libraries" the "Dale Street Lending Library".

I had never heard of the Dale Street Lending Library and neither had the good folks at the PPLD Special Collections desk. According to the phone book it was located at 126 E. Dale St.  I cross-checked it in the Polk's City Directories between 1941 and 1945.  Mrs. Helen V. Marshall (widow of W.D.R. Marshall) and Mrs. F.M. Stote were listed at that address.  The "library" listing disappeared after 1946.  My guess and intuition leads me to believe that it was a rental library in a private home.  If you decide to drive by the address you'll find a vacant lot next to the former site of TOOON'S.

OK, so while reading a manuscript about early libraries I came upon mention of the "Verner Z. Reed Memorial Library". This library located at 502 S. Tejon (more later) was, apparently, endowed by the widow of mining magnate Verner Reed.  It was said to be associated with Reed's volunteer fire brigade.  This gets more interesting in a minute.  The connection between fire brigades and libraries remains a mystery to me. And if you decide to drive by this one you'll not be disappointed.  It's the charming little brick building on the southwest corner of South Tejon which has also housed a Boy's Club and a commercial printer.  The small, precise architectural gem has been protected by State Historic status.  Apparently the Verner Z Reed collection was later absorbed into the PPLD stacks.

Moving along with fire brigades I found another one in the 1926 through 1945 Polk's. It was the "Adams Circulating Library" aka "Adams Hose Company # 5!  I'm hoping a reader can add information about this odd connection between firehouses and libraries.  This library was located at 836 N. Spruce which is, like the Dale Street library, now a vacant space. Adams Library was active between 1935 and 1945.

In my perusal of the City Directories I came upon one more private library, just as curious as the rest.  The "Smith Memorial Library" was located at 710 E. Cache La Poudre, right in my neighborhood.  The building, as a private residence, still exists.  Listed at THIS address was veterinarian Archie D. Tolley, DVM. It was listed in Polk's during the years 1928-1935.

As with most historic research, more questions arise than answers, which I guess keeps historians employed.  I haven't done very extensive research on this topic but given the dearth of information at the Special Collections desk I'm not very optimistic. Perhaps a long-time Springs resident can add to this topic? 

Tags: Archie, Cache, D., Dale, F.M, Helen, LaPoudre, Marshall, PPLD, Reed, More…Spruce, Stote., Street, Tolley, V, Verner, Z., fire, lending, library, volunteer

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