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Home arrow News arrow Local News arrow Library added to historic registry


Library added to historic registry


ENTERPRISE - Another downtown building was added to those recognized by the National Register of Historic Places last week, the Enterprise Public Library.

Completed in 1914, the Enterprise Public Library was built in the classic two-story Carnegie style, said Librarian Denine Rautenstrauch.

An Oregon Parks and Recreation release said the library was constructed with a $5,000 grant from the Carnegie Corporation, founded by steel magnate Andrew Carnegie. Carnegie financially supported the construction of hundreds of free libraries across the country between 1886 and 1917 because he believed that free public libraries played an important role in social betterment of the people they served. 

In exchange for the grant, the City of Enterprise committed to providing a building site, $500 for the annual operating budget, and to follow the Carnegie Corporation’s construction guidelines. Typical of Carnegie Libraries is the location of the reading room on the main floor with windows set above the open book shelves, a centrally located circulation desk and public meeting space in the basement.

Rautenstrauch said getting the library listed was started by Marya Nowakowski, former city project coordinator.

“We decided to go ahead and have this building registered as an historic building,” Rautenstrauch said. Everything we have done to restore the library has been with that in mind.”

In the last 13 years since Rautenstrauch has been the librarian, she said the city put eaves back on, and worked with the state historic preservation office. She said they were told they didn’t have to replace the wooden gutters to maintain the historic integrity, because they rot quickly, and were allowed to install modern gutters.

When Rautenstrauch started, she said the city developed a 10-year plan. “The only thing the city council said was, ‘Don’t take away its historic significance.’”

As for its location, it is just blocks from the Enterprise Schools and kitty corner to the courthouse. “We’re in such a great spot, how could you find a better place?”

She said the space is small, but adequate, and serves patrons not just from Enterprise, but from all over Wallowa County. The library is supported by Enterprise city taxpayers, and the average cost per household is $50 per

Rautenstrauch said a library has been in Enterprise since 1908, but the official opening was March, 1914. At this year’s Bowlby Bash, Enterprise’s summer street fair, the library will host its 100th anniversary with a party.

The library is located at 101 E. First St. and its hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Thursday.  

Toddler story time is Thursday morning at 10:30 and Up and Away after school program is Wednesday at 3:30 p.m. If you can’t find what you are looking for, the library is part of a consortium and inter-library loans are available.

For more information visit the Enterprise Public Library page on the city’s website, www.enterpriseoregon.org.


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