Shhhh! A library story
Make some noise for a library that has roots as old as Temple.
Temple’s Carnegie Library was a centerpiece of learning, but unfortunately it was only here for about 14 years before burning to the ground. Six years later, the library was back but it moved frequently for decades.
One of the stops for the Temple library between 1918 and 1964 was the Municipal Building, now usually referred to as City Hall.
Thanks to Temple voters who approved a $100,000 bond and to the generosity of the Carnegie Library Association, the old Post Office at Adams and Main was renovated and opened in 1964 as the new Temple Public Library.
After receiving funding from the Carpenter Foundation, the library moved into its current location. It has expanded several times and now occupies three floors. Before this current building was built, the location was home to another Temple landmark and the subject of a recent Our Town Temple story — Uncle Lee’s Toy World.
DAVID STONE | May 31, 2022
Our Town Temple has received multiple requests for information about the history of the Temple Public Library.
The library’s early days are a little hazy, but this is what I’ve come up with:
The earliest library in the city was actually more of a book club or book exchange. A few donated books were kept at the Temple post office and people could stop by and read or borrow the books.
Many of the books were picked up by people just passing through the area, so they were never returned. In order to keep books on the shelves, people borrowing books were required to leave a book when they “checked” one out.
The site of the first book exchange is a little fuzzy, but it was inside the Temple post office. The city — originally called Temple Junction — was formed by the Gulf, Colorado & Santa Fe railroad in 1881. That year, a post office was established in “Temple,” but until a physical location was agreed upon and constructed, the post office bounced around town and so did the library.
Records show that in October 1990, Temple’s library was located inside the Harvey & Lucas Bookstore in Downtown Temple.
Soon, Temple would receive a $10,000 gift from a railroad and steel industry tycoon who was devoted to helping educate the nation.
Many Americans first entered the worlds of information and imagination by walking through the doors of an Andrew Carnegie library. Between 1886 and 1919, Carnegie donated more than $40 million for the construction of 1,679 libraries in cities and towns across the country. Temple was one of the beneficiaries.
Temple’s version of The Carnegie was located on land that is now City Hall’s parking lot. It opened in 1904 and was a popular place for children and anyone wanting to improve their knowledge base or take a trip without leaving town. Unfortunately, the facility was fairly short lived — the library and most of its books burned to the ground in 1918.
The Temple library remained closed for six years, but during this time a new collection was built. Hundreds of books had been checked out at the time of the fire, and Temple residents hungry for a new library gladly returned them. Incarnations of the library bounced around Downtown Temple for decades, and at a time the small but growing book collection was kept in various locations inside the Temple Municipal Building, aka City Hall.
“I remember the library being in the Municipal Building on the second floor,” said Janey Lewis Heath of Temple. “I think you entered the building from the north door facing Adams Avenue. I loved to read Nancy Drew and Cherry Ames books. I still go to the library, just not as often.”
In 1953, Temple Public Library officially became a city department, and a decade later city residents approved a $100,000 bond to renovate the old Post Office on the corner of Main and Adams. The Carnegie Library Association contributed additional money and the library opened in its new location in 1964. The Friends of the Temple Public Library was formed in 1965 with 265 members.
The Main Street library is still fondly remembered by many Temple residents who participated in Story Time and summer reading challenges.
“I loved going to the basement to the children’s section and finding books to check out,” Nikki Oldham Wilson said today. “I remember when you first walked in the front door of the library, there were albums you could check out. There were also different newspapers, each hanging on its own rack. This was in the mid 1960s to probably 1970. I loved it there.”
Lucy Ludwick Greenway also has fond memories of that Main Street basement.
“I remember both the Municipal Building and the Post Office building libraries, but the old Post Office was my favorite,” she said. “I loved that little downstairs space. I could spend hours down there, sitting on the floor right in front of the shelves.”
“I always left with the maximum number of books they allowed,” Lucy said. “The Snipp, Snapp and Snurr series was a favorite. Nancy Drew, the Bobbsey Twins, Five Little Peppers — such memories.”
Denise Karimkhani also has memories of the old Post Office library, but most of her memories came as a working adult.
“I was the reference librarian there in 1976,” she said. “My desk was upstairs, and I assisted patrons with genealogy, microfilm, business and general reference.”
In 1993, the library received money from the E. Rhodes and Leona Carpenter Foundation, and two years later it moved into the current building, which was home to Bank of America and the Carpenter Foundation.
Over the years, the library expanded and today it oversees three floors of the building at 100 West Adams.
The Rock Tower at Mother Neff State Park near Moody is a popular Central Texas destination. Texas State Park officials say they are already getting busy as summer approaches. Many Texans plan on sticking close to home this summer because of high gas prices. Courtesy photo
Many Texans to vacation close to home because of escalating prices
DAVID STONE | May 31, 2022
There’s good news and bad news when it comes to gas prices. Let’s start with the good news.
In Temple, gas prices have dropped a penny in the past week to $4.21 per average gallon of regular-grade fuel. And, the city hasn’t set a new record for high gas prices since May 21. Diesel has dropped by eight-tenths of a cent to $5.01.
Yep, that’s the good news.
The bad? The price of regular unleaded is $1.55 per gallon higher than it was a year ago. And, with Memorial Day behind us, Americans are entering vacation season and demand for fuel is expected to skyrocket. High demand means higher prices are on the way.
But, gas prices aren’t keeping some people from planning vacations.
Almost 75 percent of Americans said they’ve made plans to go on a summer vacation this year, according to a ValuePenguin survey. That’s a 22 percent increase from just a year ago, a sign people are eager to return to a pre-pandemic normalcy.
But, the survey revealed that 57 percent of those without travel plans are staying at home because they can’t afford a vacation due to inflation and high fuel prices.
Many people likely will be making short day and weekend trips around the state. Stephanie Salinas Garcia, a spokesperson for Texas Parks & Wildlife, said there already has been an increase in visitors at many state parks.
“Most parks have capacity limits in place in order to preserve the visitor experience,” Garcia said. “Some of the most popular parks such as Enchanted Rock and Garner, frequently reach their limits during the summer, especially on weekends. I highly recommend buying a day pass in advance.”
“Also, don’t just limit yourself to the more popular parks,” she said. “Try a park you may not have visited.”
Some Temple residents will be hitting the road this summer despite the high costs associated with travel in 2022.
“I’m just going to a couple family reunions,” said Suzanne McClintick. “One here in Texas, the other in Pennsylvania.”
Ruth Rucker summed up her plans for the summer with a single word: “Cabo.”
Wendy Kilburn will also make one journey out of state, but she is limiting the bulk of her summer to close-to-home weekend getaways to minimize gas expenses.
Jennifer Crooks also is staying in Texas, but she will be taking part in a family tradition.
“I’m going to be following the Texas Water Safari in a couple weeks,” she said. “It’s a 260-mile canoe trip from San Marcos to Seadrift. I don’t compete, but I’ve been following along for about 25 years. My dad used to paddle, then he was an event official.”
“I drive to various checkpoints along the way, stopping to cheer everyone on,” she said. “I enjoy the river with my family, and stop in small towns along the way to shop.”
Stephanie Fondy is one of many Temple residents sticking close to home this summer.
“I might spend a few days with my sister in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, but I’m not going far,” she said.
Neither is Leesa Red Wilson. In fact, Wilson likely will stay put in Temple.
“Vacation? What’s that?”
Meredith Bridges will spend her summer launching a new business.
“I’m a new KookieNow baker, and I’m almost ready for my soft opening,” Bridges said. “After dinner, you will find me at a local water park with the kiddos.”
Like many Central Texans, Carol Hickman’s free time is governed by youth baseball.
“My son plays, and I’ll be wherever they go,” she said.
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today’s best bets
Puppers Day at Corky’s. Bring your 4-legged friend for a treat!
$1 Summer movies at The Beltonian Theatre. 10 a.m., 1, p.m. 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, and 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. Saturday.
Lonesome Dove: The Photo Exhibit runs through June 25. The exhibit is a collection of black-and-white framed photos captured by the late Bill Wittliff, renowned photographer, writer, and co-executive producer of the popular Western mini-series.
Clay with Marilyn at the Cultural Activities Center. Go to cacarts.org to sign up for her series of classes.
Trivia Night at J. Kowboy Wine Bar.
To include your events in What’s Happening, email information to OurTownTemple@gmail.com. Photos are welcome to for use in the publication as space permits!
Back in the day, Temple had several monikers that weren’t exactly great for attracting visitors or business to the growing town. So, a new nickname was given to the city — Prairie Queen. This inspired the manufacturing of what large piece of farm equipment right here in Temple? ANSWER IS AT END OF TODAY’S ISSUE
On this day in 1783, San Antonio merchant and alderman Fernando Veramendi was killed by Mescalero Apaches near the presidio of San Juan Bautista in Coahuila. Veramendi, born in Spain in 1743 or 1744, came to Texas around 1770. He married into a family of Canary Islanders in San Antonio in 1776. Once established in San Antonio, Veramendi's business thrived. He opened a store, acted as moneylender, and bought extensive tracts of agricultural land. His success allowed him to build an opulent house on Soledad Street that later came to be known as the Veramendi Palace. He served in the city's militia, was alderman in the ayuntamiento of 1779, and was elected senior alderman for the year 1783. He was killed while on a business trip to Mexico City. His son Juan Martín de Veramendi served as governor of Coahuila and Texas in 1832-33.
TODAY’S TEMPLE TRIVIA ANSWER: The Prairie Queen farm tractor. Six were made.