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 Texas : Architecture : Carnegie Libraries :

The Carnegie Library in Belton
Belton, Texas

Now the Bell County Museum

by John Troesser
Belton Tx Carnegie Library
Bell County Museum
201 N. Main, Belton, Texas 76513
(254) 933-5243


Old Postcard
Beautifully restored in 1991, this building was constructed in 1904 at a cost of $10,000.  On the ground floor the lighter rectangles in the wood flooring show where the bookshelves once were.  The spacious upstairs has a stage (a common feature of Carnegie Libraries; usually rented out for public events for as much as $3.00 per night,) which in Belton was sometimes used for public immunizations as well as plays.
Ma Ferguson
The museum is the home of the "Ma" Ferguson Collection, which you can see by her photo, is definitely not a fashion line.  "Ma" was the first woman to be Governor of Texas and was a Bell County native.
The upstairs also houses a collection of scale models of the Bell County Courthouse (as it was) and other notable buildings in the Bell county/Temple area.

An interesting story from a museum staff member: 
According to local legend, the citizens of Belton were so persistent in writing to Mr. Carnegie himself and not the corporation, that in order to free up his mailbox, Mr. Carnegie wrote a personal check for the amount of construction.  Years later when a remodeling grant was requested the Carnegie Corporation had no record of an initial grant.
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Reader's Comments

  • Editor's note: Anna Thomas' mention of the Belton Carnegie Library piqued our interest and so we asked if she'd mind writing about her patronage. Her story follows:

    Dear Texas Escapes, As a child growing up in Belton, my fondest memory of going to the Carnegie Library was sitting in the rear room to the right. There lying on the table would be an old fashioned Stereo Photo Viewer. It was wooden and had a sort of telescopic lens that you could see through and at the far end was a postcard holder . Being hand held, you could insert the card and slide it near or far and it was very interesting . My favorite cards were about history and animals.

    I dont recall the name of the lady Librarian, but I do remember that she was very nice and always so helpful to me. I enjoyed looking through different books there, and yet I never did have a library card.

    There are many fond memories to share as a child in Belton and events that I recall - even after so long a time. All the old landmarks that I knew and loved are all gone now, but each time I go downtown Belton, I can see each one and remember......each event.

    I encourage other visitors to Texas Escapes to share their stories, as we all have a story just waiting to be told. Thank You, again, for allowing me to tell a small part of mine. - Anna Thomas (Anna Jane Davis) Belton, Texas, June 24, 2004

  • My Grandfather ( Herod G. Dupree), was of Belton, Tx. and he died in 1920. He owned the corner lot of 201 N. Main St. in Belton, where he had a Blacksmith Shop for many years. He also owned the lot directly behind it, where he had a Livery Stable. I use to make many visits to The Carnegie Library, when I was a child and I'm sure there are many old horse shoes buried underneath it today. Thanks for allowing me to share this bit of my family history. They are all now deceased. - Anna Thomas, Belton, Tx, June 23, 2004

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