The history of Grand County’s first library

1924 Hot Sulphur Springs School Building became the Grand County Historical Association’s Pioneer Museum in 1974.
1924 Hot Sulphur Springs School Building became the Grand County Historical Association’s Pioneer Museum in 1974.

by Donald Dailey

The Hot Sulphur Springs Women’s Club established a nucleus for a Grand County Public Library on December 15, 1932. Books were received from the Denver Public Library, and Mrs. A.G. Fish, President of the Colorado Federation of Women’s Clubs. One local resident donated 50 books, and the club purchased nine new books from proceeds of a social event. Library hours were from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. The cost of renting books was 50 cents for six months. Occupancy for the library were at club members homes. Due to growth and interests, the library moved into the town’s Community Church.

On January 19, 1938 the Hot Sulphur Springs Women’s Club voted to give the collection of 500 books to the citizens of Grand County.

On January 8, 1938 a new brick Courthouse (Grand County Administration Building) was dedicated in Hot Sulphur Springs. On March 8, the County Commissioners appointed a Grand County Library Board and included the County Superintendent of Schools as a board member. The new library lined the walls of the second floor adjacent to the Office of the Superintendent of Schools. The Commissioners agreed to fund the library with a 1/lOth mill levy. When the Colorado State Library sent 200 books, it forced the library to be moved into the basement.

On January 6, 1941 Grand County’s primary historian, Daisy Jenne became the County’s Librarian for 20 years. The Grand County Pioneer Society and County Attorney Schneider saved a log building from destruction that had served as the County’s Courthouse from 1888 to 1902. The Society moved the building from downtown Hot Sulphur Springs to the southwest corner near the Courthouse. The Pioneer Society removed the clapboard exterior siding and installed a new roof. The Library Board requested $200 from the Commissioners to finish the interior. Books were transferred using a bucket and pulley system from the Courthouse basement to the renovated log courthouse. Mrs. Jenne opened the Grand County Library and Pioneer Museum on October 11, 1941. Three more branches were opened by the Library Board. Kremmling-1967, Fraser-1968, and Granby-1970. The Juniper Library at Grand Lake, a project of the Junior Women’s Club opened on December 13, 1933. Two 1969 events were the release of the Grand County Pioneer Society’s book, Island in the Rockies by Robert C. Black 111, and the completion of the Courthouse West Wing. On June 12, 1971 the Pioneer Society hosted three events in Hot Sulphur Springs. A reception at the library/museum, Community Church Memorial Service, and dedicated a petrified wood monument at the Courthouse West Wing. Elmer and Martha Weimer donated the petrified wood in honor of all Grand County Pioneers. A banquet followed at the Bar Lazy J Ranch near Parshall.

To accommodate a new Grand County Sheriff’s Department and Jail structure, the library was returned to the Courthouse in August 1975. The Town of Hot Sulphur Springs, Grand County Pioneer Society, Grand County Historical Association (GCHA), and East Grand School District, negotiated the museum. To have the museum in the 1924 Hot Sulphur Springs School Building, a land swap was agreed to. In 1976 the County moved the library/ museum building to GCHA’s Pioneer Village Museum Complex. The interior ofthe building has been retrofitted to the original 1888-1902 Courthouse. Through the combined efforts of Hot Sulphur Springs civic organizations and Grand County government, a “Community Alliance of Libraries, Museums, and Schools” (CALMS), have been preserved for past, present, and future generations.

Contributed in Memory of Grand County Librarian Shirley Dailey