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1940 – Hargreaves Hall

building with trees and snow

The library was dedicated in 1940 in memory of Richard T. Hargreaves.

Map showing the location of Hargreaves Hall
Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

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 4 March 1939, midway through construction of the new building, caused the building to be named for him as a memorial to his efforts.

Hargreaves Hall 1940
Hargreaves Library

On 4 June 1940, the school held a double dedication ceremony for Hargreaves Library and Showalter Hall, fitting memorials to two men who brought the school through uncertain times and into the modern age.

Hargreaves Library was originally a two-story building measuring 150 by 44 feet, with a red tile roof that was replaced with red composite shingles in 1968. The main feature of the library was the 140 by 40-foot, second floor reading room with its 27-foot-high ceiling and nine 18-foot windows of special blue glass that allowed in plenty of light but shielded the room from glare and UV.

Corner of Monroe Hall, library, and snow-covered fields behind the buidlings
Winter view about 1948
cars parked on street in front of building
1955 view

After Kennedy Library opened in 1967, the renamed Hargreaves Hall was used as classroom and office space.

trees, shrubs, building
Image courtesy of EWU Special Collections (EWU_992_0287_035)

In 2009, a significant remodel and expansion project returned much of the original historical character to the building, with a new section at the rear of the building that blends 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 is now used for the large arched windows. Re-dedicated as the Walt and Myrtle Powers Reading Room, it is now used as a study area, as well as for special events.

Much of the original tile flooring, marble wainscoting and stairs, and woodwork can still be seen throughout the building.

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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, he took a job as a high school principal in Minneapolis.

Hargreaves returned to the Pacific Northwest to take the role as President of the Cheney Normal School, following Noah D. Showalter’s tenure. Hargreaves’ legacy includes the school gaining the right to offer a four-year B.A. degree in education which led to the change in name to Eastern Washington College of Education. He led the school through the difficult years of the Great Depression and accessed federal Works Progress Administration grants to construct Martin Hall as well as his new library.

Hargeaves Hall | Spokane Historical

When Richard T. Hargreaves became President of Eastern Washington University in 1926, the school did not have its own campus library. Building one was a long-time dream of his, and became his most ambitious project.

Image of Gerald the Museum Mouse

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