Oct. 29, 2013
The Enterprise Public Library in the City of Enterprise, Wallowa County, is among Oregon’s latest entries in the National Register of Historic Places.
Completed in 1914, the Enterprise Public Library is recognized as an important community institution that represents the City’s commitment to continuing public education and as a representative example of a Carnegie Library. 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. The Enterprise Public Library includes many of the characteristics of Carnegie-funded libraries, including Classical Revival styling and brick construction. Also 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.
Oregon’s State Advisory Committee on Historic Preservation recommended the building’s nomination at their June 2013 meeting. Eight historic properties in Enterprise are now listed in the National Register, which is maintained by the National Park Service under the authority of the National Historic Preservation Act of 1966.
More information about the National Register and recent Oregon lists is online at www.oregonheritage.org (click on “National Register” at left of page).