|The Anna Lemon Wheelock Library|
3722 North 26th Street
Tacoma, WA 98407
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Friday & Saturday
Noon - 8 p.m.
Noon - 8 p.m.
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
10 a.m. - 6 p.m.
|Wheelock Meeting Room|
Auditorium style - 130 maximum seating
Conference style - 80 maximum seating
Reserve a Meeting Room
The Anna Lemon Wheelock Library & Anna McCormick Community Rooms
In Tacoma’s early days, the north end of the city was served by the Mason Free Library, sponsored by Allen C. Mason, a prominent businessman. When Mr. Mason was no longer able to support the library’s operation, it was closed, with many of the library books becoming the property of the City of Tacoma. No other library service was offered in the north end until 1916, when a station of the Tacoma Public Library opened in rented quarters.
The idea for a branch library in the north end originated in 1920 with Mrs. C. Stewart Clark who at first thought of using the fire station at North 25th and Proctor Streets. When Mrs. Clark mentioned her idea to others she received enthusiastic responses from neighborhood residents, the Tacoma Public Library, Mayor C. M. Riddell and many others. Her idea proved impractical, however, and the community joined together to fund a permanent library. Seven hundred and thirty-one contributors raised $3,125 and, in the autumn of 1920 a building site for the library was purchased.
Several years passed as major attempts were made to secure funding for the building. On December 10, 1926, Mrs. Anna E. McCormick, the widow of Robert Laird McCormick, an industrial leader and secretary of the Weyerhaeuser Timber Company, generously offered a gift of $25,000 for the construction and furnishing of a library.
The announcement of the gift was made in a letter to Mayor M. G. Tennent which read, in part:
“My idea in making the gift was simply to make possible for young and old the pleasure that books can give.”
Architect Silas E. Nelsen designed the English Tudor Structure. The library opened December 5, 1927 and 200 children applied for library cards.
The building remained virtually unchanged until 1958 when Tacoma voters passed a bond issue enabling construction of an addition. In 1978, the library upgraded the interior of the building and provided easier access for persons with disabilities. Through passage of the $15.8 million Library Construction Bond in 1984, the library was enlarged to more than 17.000 square feet to serve as a regional resource for the city's north end.
The legacy of caring which established the first library in the city's Proctor neighborhood continues even today. In 1995, longtime resident and library patron Virginia Wheelock Marshall made a generous bequest (in excess of $2.4 million) to the Tacoma Public Library to honor her mother, Anna Lemon Wheelock, an early Tacoma area pioneer. Under the terms of the bequest, the addition to the original north end library was named to honor Mrs. Wheelock. The original library, now used for community meeting rooms, is known as the Anna E. McCormick Community Rooms.
Last Updated 02.01.2012