New York, Dec. 27, 1899
Robert C. Morris, Esq.,
Dear Sir: Your favor of the 16th instant received. When the city of Cheyenne is willing to furnish a proper site for a free public library and maintain it at a cost of not less than $3,000 a year, I shall be glad to give $50,000 for the building.
A public library cannot be maintained for less than $3,000, and really should be $4,000 per year.
Very truly yours,
The Cheyenne Carnegie Public Library was located on the southeast corner of West 22nd Street and Capitol Avenue, and was a County Library rather than a City Library. The first Carnegie built in Wyoming (1 of 16), it was replaced in 1966 and torn down in 1971. A bronze plaque from the Library is located in the current County Library just a few blocks west of its former location.
Carnegie libraries are libraries which were built with money donated by Scottish-American businessman Andrew Carnegie. Over 2,500 Carnegie libraries were built, including public and university. Carnegie earned the nickname Patron Saint of Libraries.
Of the 2,500 libraries funded between 1883 and 1929, 1,689 are built in the United States. Very few towns that requested a grant and agreed to his terms were refused. When the last grant was made in 1919, there were 3,500 libraries in the
United States, nearly half of them paid for by Carnegie.
In the early 20th Century, a Carnegie library was the most imposing structure in hundreds of small American communities from Maine to California. Most of the library buildings are unique, displaying a number of different styles, including Italian Renaissance, Baroque, Classic Revival and Spanish Colonial. Each style was chosen by the community and was typically simple yet formal, welcoming patrons to enter through a prominent doorway, nearly always accessed via a staircase. The staircase was intended to show that a person was elevating himself. Similarly, outside virtually every branch a lamppost or lantern symbolized enlightenment.