Lewis Library

Welcome to the second oldest library in the State of Missouri and the oldest library building in continuous use west of the Mississippi (Established in 1866).

Hours of Operation
Monday - Friday : 3 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Saturday : 1 p.m. - 5 p.m.
Phone : (660) 338-2395
Fax : (660) 338-2472

Lewis Library can trace its origin to the Colonel Benjamin Lewis and his brother James Lewis. These natives of Glasgow gathered their wealth through the production of tobacco and hemp. Before the Civil War, the Lewis brothers wanted to build a college and library to foster the cultural interest in Glasgow.

Hazel Austin Price Reading Room
Arial Photo of Lewis Library

Unfortunately, in 1866, Benjamin Lewis died of injuries inflicted by Bloody Bill Anderson, a guerilla who rode with Quantrell, and whose followers included Frank & Jesse James. Anderson had come to the Lewis mansion, "Glen Eden," to collect a $6,000 reward offered by Lewis for Bloody Bill, Dead or Alive. Anderson tortured Lewis until he met his demands.

In his will, Benjamin Lewis set aside $10,000 for a public library to be regulated by the Methodist Episcopalian Church. The building was built in 1866, at the cost of $26,000.

The ground floor of the building was originally used as a lecture hall until the advent of radio and television. It also served as the first site of Lewis College, which opened in 1867 with 140 students. The college later moved to a larger building, but eventually closed its doors in 1891. The second floor of the library is essentially the same as it was at the time of Lewis College's closing.
Second Floor
Wachter Children's Reading Room
Through the years, the lower floor has been used to roll bandages for World War II, hosted parties, receptions, plays and elections as Glasgow's Community Center, and celebrated the Glasgow High School Graduations on the main stage. The stage is now home to the Carrie Wachter Children's Reading Room, in honor of Ms. Wachter, who retired in 1991 following 40 years of service as the librarian.
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