Historic Library

category : National Register
Historic Library The Blue Rapids Public Library, second site in Marshall County chosen for the National Register of Historic Buildings, was built in 1875 for a library and has served for that purpose ever since. The library has existed in one location longer than any other library in the state.

The women of the Genessee Colony of New York, who founded and settled Blue Rapids in 1870, missed the cultural advantages that had been a part of their lifestyle back east. Within a few years they had organized and became the prime instigators for a public library.

On June 27, 1874, the Ladies' Library was opened in a store. They had managed to secure 143 books from donations. Later, a lot on the east side of the Square was donated by the Town Company as a building site. The cornerstone was laid on October 20, 1875. In 1876, the library occupied the back room awaiting completion of the building. It is the oldest library west of the Mississippi in continuous operation in the same building.

In 1941, the ladies relinquished their claim to the Library, converting it to a city library supported by a small tax levy.

The Library has many things to offer other than its historical value. These include fiction and non-fiction books for adults and children, videos, audiobooks, magazines, a copier and a micro-film reader-printer to name a few. The Blue Rapids Times from 1871 through december 28, 1989 as well as The Telegraph from January 5, 1989 through Novermber 29, 1997 are on micro-film. The original papers are bound and in the Library also.

Hours: Mondays and Fridays, 1 to 5 PM
Wednesdays, 11 AM to 7:30 PM
Saturdays, 9 AM to 12 noon
Address: #14 Public Square.
Phone: 785-363-7709

Come visit us in Blue Rapids, Kansas

Attractions and Upcoming Events

Fountain Park Square

The downtown area is built around a Fountain Park which gives Blue Rapids the distinction of being the only round town square in Kansas. Founders platted the town much like those in New England to include a "hub"

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Holm Log Cabin

The two room Holm cabin was built by Swedish pioneers in approximately 1876 of hand hewn logs of oak and door frames of walnut. The cabin was lived in until about 1981.

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Alcove Spring

Alcove Spring is a spring of fresh water flowing from the side of the alcove into the basin below the Naomi Pike 10-12 foot falls, all in a woodland setting. The spring has never been known to dry up, even during severe Kansas droughts. Today, the spring is part of a 223

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Outdoor Mural

This mural painted by local artist, Kenny Winkenwader, depicts the historic Alcove Spring park located five miles north of Blue Rapids. Alcove Spring is one of the best-known stopping points in the 1850s for travelers making the trip west on the Oregon Trail.

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Gypsum Plant

In 1871, Judge J.V. Coon of Elyria, Ohio, visited Blue rapids and took samples of gypsum back to Ohio for testing. It was found to be suitable for the manufacturing of plaster of paris. In 1872, he and a brother returned and set up the first machinery for processing gypsum. In the early 1900

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