Sims Library Celebrates 100th Anniversary
April 24, 2005
Contributed by Sylvia Smith
In honor of the occasion, a presentation was made b the Leceum Players (members of the Library Board) dressed in appropriate costume in portrayal of Mr. Sims, Mr. Getzendaner and the faithful librarian, Ms. Post.
Proclamations were presented by Sylvia Smith, Ellis County Historical Commission, Waxahachie Mayor Joe Jenkins, and a representative from the office of Jim Pitts, State Representative.
Popcorn, cotton candy, cake and home-made ice cream were served on the lawn by members of the Chautauqua Preservation and Historic Waxahachie, Inc.
N. P. SIMS LIBRARY AND LYCEUM
A PIONEER AMONG PRIVATELY-ENDOWED TEXAS LIBRARIES. SITUATED IN GETZENDANER PARK, WHICH HAD BEEN DONATED TO THE CITY ON DECEMBER 31, 1895, BY CAPT. W.H. GETZENDANER (1834-1909), AN ATTORNEY, CONFEDERATE VETERAN, BANKER, AND PRESIDENT OF DALLAS AND WACO RAILROAD.
NICHOLAS P. SIMS (1806-1902), A NATIVE OF VIRGINIA WHO SETTLED IN 1833 IN ELLIS COUNTY AND PROSPERED AS A FARMER AND INVESTOR, ENDOWED THE LIBRARY AND LYCEUM IN 1902, NAMING AS TRUSTEES HIS STEPSONS O.E. AND S.W. DUNLAP, ALONG WITH GEORGE H. CUNNINGHAM. ARCHITECT S. WEMYES SMITH OF FORT WORTH DESIGNED THE NEO-CLASSIC BUILDING, USING CARRARA MARBLE AND OTHER FINE STRUCTURAL MATERIALS. THE LIBRARY OPENED IN APRIL 1905. BOOKS AND READING ROOMS WERE ON THE FIRST FLOOR WITH THE AUDITORIUM, ATHENEUM, ANTEROOMS, AND STAGE FOR PERFORMING ARTS ON THE SECOND FLOOR.
BRADEN & JONES DESIGNED THE WINGS. THE WEST WING WAS FINANCED (1958) BY AN ELLIS COUNTIAN, THE TALENTED INVENTOR, J. HARRY PHILLIPS (1872-1962). INDUSTRIALIST W. H. LARKIN AND MRS LARKIN FINANCED (1965) THE EAST WING. OTHER MAJOR GIFTS WERE RECEIVED FROM SALE OF THE HOME BEQUEATHED BY 1938-52 CITY SECRETARY, ROBERT A WATSON AND MRS. WATSON, AND FROM SALE OF THE FARM OF JUDGE OSCAR E. DUNLAP. (1975)
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