Archive for Wednesday, April 17, 2002

Original city library still standing

April 17, 2002

Should the Basehor Community Library relocate, the new building would be the third library in Basehor history, according to records.

Library officials this week signed a contract and deed (See related story page 1A) that would relocate the library from its current location, 2812 N. 155th St., to the Prairie Gardens development at 158th Street.

The first-ever library building was a 12 feet by 10 feet concrete building built in 1903 by Reuben Basehor, brother of city founder Ephraim Basehor.

The nearly century-old structure still stands in the backyard of Basehor residents Keith and Julie Berry, 15441 Leavenworth Rd.

The Berrys moved to Basehor from Tonganoxie and have lived at the residence since September.

Keith said a realtor told him the backyard structure was once a library, but he never was sure if that was true.

"They didn't seem to be 100 percent sure, though," Berry said.

"I think it's pretty cool to have a piece of history sitting in my backyard," he added.

Old wooden shelves still stand inside the building. Whether the shelves were used to hold books is unknown.

When the library was constructed, a combination grade and high school was located in front of the library, but has since been torn down.

All that remains of the school site is a metal post that also sits in the Berry's backyard, which was used for a school merry -go-round.

According to a 1985 Sentinel story, the late Alfred (A.K.) Mussett, a life-long Basehor resident, remembered the original library being built.

It was founded because Reuben, a scholar, felt the area needed a library and he donated $500 toward its construction.

Reuben and other community members also helped build the structure, mixing the concrete it was built with by hand, Mussett said.

The building was meant to be fire- and wind-proof but was somewhat musty inside, Mussett said.

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