"In a commanding position on Main Street, with lines of impressive, classical beauty stands the Hearst Free Public Library, a gift to the people of Anaconda from Mrs. Phoebe Hearst. The first impression one receives is of massive substantiality, an effect which is heightened by the strikingly Grecian purity of outline and the almost severe use of ornamentation which by itself would give an impression of stiffness were it not for the graceful strength imparted to the design by the great spreading arches of the windows. The building is one of the best type of library structure, and has not its equal in Montana; it will compare favorably with any public building in the West."
Thus begins the news item reporting the opening of the Hearst Free Library in the Anaconda Standard of June 12, 1898.
Although by 1895 she had sold her interest in the copper mining company here, Mrs. Hearst never lost her affection for the community. When she came here in 1895 and asked the city fathers what she could do for the town, they hesitated. She finally said, "I have an idea, I have in mind a library." They replied, "That is what we need, and what we want." Asked by the gracious lady why they hadn't told her sooner, they replied it cost too much money and they did not want to impose on her.
The Hearst Free Library is as a beautiful example of a classic library built at the turn of the 20th century. No expense was spared. The doors were open to the public on June 1, 1898, and remain open and ready to serve the reading community of Anaconda--more than a century later.
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