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Library - History
Sahuaro Ranch ParkIf you turn your head quickly at Sahuaro Ranch Park, you might see the trailing hem of an old-fashioned gown as it disappears around a weathered building.  The past is every present at the ranch.  One of its ghosts is H. W. Adams, who owned the ranch in the 1890’s, oversaw a thousand dollar donation to the germinating library, and served as first president of the Glendale Public Library Association.

The library was begun by V. E. Messigner, usually known as “Vic.”  He was a Stanford graduate who came to Glendale in 1895 to manage a lumber company.  He brought with him an estimated three or four hundred books.  In a community-minded gesture, he put his library in an office at the lumberyard and made it available to the public.

Others in the town donated books.  The library was moved to the new lumber company building on Glendale and 58th Drive, and Vic volunteered to be librarian part-time.  The thousand-dollar donation was given to the library about this time, and many books were bought from what was known then as Scribner’s Company.

In 1897 Mr. Adams helped organize the library association and became its president.  Shares were sold for $5.00 each. 

Three years later the library, which led a somewhat peripatetic existence until 1938, moved to an old grade school.  In 1907, the Culture Club (which had nothing to do with Boy George) took charge of the running of the library. 

The library was moved several more times, once residing in a corner of the old City Hall.  By 1917 it has been housed in a small building in what was to be know as Murphy Park.  In 1922 the Glendale Public Library became a department of the City and was given the magnificent sum of $500 to support it.

Murphy ParkThe librarian of the day must have been very grateful when a new library building was constructed in Murphy Park in 1938.  It was brick, stuccoed, and painted white, and distinctly Spanish in style.  The library director for most of the life of this library was Velma Teague.

When the structure was outgrown, it was bulldozed down and the present downtown library was erected in its place in 1969.  The library was named after Mrs. Teague, who, unfortunately, died before the library was finished. 

By 1980 it was obvious to the newly hired director, Rodeane Widom that Glendale was growing so fast that Velma Teague could no longer provide adequate service.  With her impetus, a new main library was suggested, accepted, and built, being completed in June 1987.

It is ironic that Glendale Public Library is on former Sahuaro Ranch Park land; or perhaps not ironic, but inevitable.  History seems to run in cycles, and it is fitting that the man who helped begin the library should have its newest edifice on what was his home.

L. Jones
6/87

Glendale, AZ - Library

For more Glendale Public Library history and photographs, see the Glendale Public Library History archives at the Arizona Memory Project.

 

 

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