Library turns 100
Celebration for OCC’s Carnegie building features Thaler presentation, music, cake

       Close to 100 people attended the 100th birthday party of Old Colorado City Branch Library Saturday afternoon, Dec. 4.
       The party, featuring a history presentation, a violin concert and a large cake, commemorated the opening of the Andrew Carnegie-built library Dec. 7, 1904, Branch Manager Julianne Rist said.
       The event began with Nancy Thaler's talk, in which various photos from Colorado Springs' past were projected onto a large screen. Thaler, the district's special-collections librarian, said many of these photos were ones she hadn't been able to fit into “Reflections,” an illustrated, perpetual calendar she created this year with library publicist Cathy Genato (nee Matthews).
       About 30 people listened to Thaler in the library's basement meeting room, Rist said. Among the photos were shots of the washed-out Colorado Midland railroad bridge after the flood of 1935, and the massive snowfall of 1913 and the “grasshopper wars” that intermittently plagued the city from the 1860s through the 1930s.
       [Note: To see these and other photos on the Internet, open, click the Special Collections link, then the Digital Photo Archives link.] Direct Link (provided by your friendly, neighborhood webmaster).
       Joining the throng for Thaler's talk were Library District Executive Director Jose Aponte, two board members and past Branch Manager Betsy Evans.
       Rist estimated that 80 people - including some who had attended Thaler's talk - listened to violinist Cynthia Robinson upstairs. Robinson concluded her set by playing “Happy Birthday,” while everyone sang along.
       Children not only enjoyed the cake [webmaster's note: the cake was donated by Little London Cake Shoppe], but the first 100 at the library that day received a free paperback book.
       Rist said there is no record of an official opening ceremony when the library opened in 1904, but noted an article in the Gazette on Dec. 4, 1904, titled “Carnegie pride of Colorado City residents.”
       The celebration occured in the midst of a preservation campaign that is raising money to fix or replace various structural aspects of the building. A recent $24,500 grant will be used to hire an architect to revise the original $1.7 million upgrade plan to incorporate repairs to recently found ceiling problems. Private donations to match grant monies are welcome, Rist said.

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