1940 Hargreaves Hall
Circulation desk 1940
Original 2nd floor reading room
1947 front desk
1948 students in the second floor reading room
Backstory and Context
From the time he
became President of the Normal School in 1926, Richard T. Hargreaves wanted to
build a modern library for the school. His death on March 4, 1939, midway
through construction of the new building, meant that his most ambitious project
bears his name as a memorial to his efforts.
Mr. Hargreaves was
born in England in 1875 and came to America with his family at age eight. After
graduating from university, he began his career in education as a teacher in
Kansas. He first came to Washington in 1909 as Principal of North Central High
School in Spokane. After nine years here, he took a job as a high school
principal in Minneapolis.
In 1926, Richard
Hargreaves was named President of the Cheney Normal School following the tenure
of Noah D. Showalter. Hargreaves' legacy includes the school gaining the right
to offer a four-year B.A. degree in education which lead to the change in name
to Eastern Washington College of Education. He lead the school through the
difficult years of the Great Depression, and accessed federal Works Progress
Administration grants to construct Martin Hall and his new library.
On June 4, 1940, the
school held a double dedication ceremony for Hargreaves Hall and Showalter
Hall, fitting memorials to two men who brought the school through uncertain
times and into the modern age.
had advocated for some time for a new library as he saw that students' needs
for library resources had long outgrown their quarters on the third floor of
the 1915 administration building. Hargreaves wanted a modern and prestigious facility
with plenty of light, spaces for study and materials, as well as room for
was a two-story building measuring 150 by 44 feet. It originally had a red tile
roof, but it was replaced with red composite shingles in 1968. The main feature
of the library was the 140 by 40 foot reading room with a 27 foot high ceiling
on the second floor that included nine 18-foot windows of blue glass that
allowed in plenty of light, but shielded the room from glare and UV.
After the Kennedy
Library opened in 1967, Hargreaves Hall was used as classroom and office space.
In 2009, a significant remodel and expansion project returned much of the
original historical character to the
building, with the new section at the rear of the building blending materials
and design to the historic part.
While most of the
features of the reading room were returned during the 2009 remodel, the blue
glass proved prohibitively expensive, so UV protected clear glass was used for
the large arched windows. Re-dedicated as the Walt
and Myrtle Powers Reading Room, it is now used as a study area and for
Much of the original
tile flooring, marble wainscoting and stairs, and woodwork can still be seen
throughout the building.
Guide to the Eastern
Washington University Campus Historic District; 2003.
The Easterner 2009
Sanborn Fire Insurance Map of Cheney Washington 1916-1940
The Southwest Spokane County Historical Society photograph collection