Coal Creek Library – Baldwin City, Kansas - Atlas Obscura

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Coal Creek Library

Baldwin City, Kansas

One of the oldest continually operated libraries in Kansas.  


Preserved just as it was in 1900, this quaint small town library acts as a museum and as an active library. The current building was built in 1900, but the library started in 1859 making it one of the oldest continually operating libraries in Kansas.

At first, the books were stored in the librarian’s homes, with the first 10 books arriving in February 1860 and grew to 100 books by the end of that year, several of which are still on the shelves.

In 1879, the collection had grown too large to house in the librarian’s home, so it was moved to Grange Hall. By the time the collection was moved to its permanent location, it had grown to over 1,000 titles. Five of the original 10 books are still in the collection and are housed in a glass case.

The building does not have electricity and when it gets too warm, an extension cord is run to the house next door so a fan can operate. There is an original coal-fired stove that is for display only. On the walls are photos of the founders of the library and a portrait of James H. Lane, U.S. senator from Kansas.

Update as of July 2023: The library is closed indefinitely for renovations.

Know Before You Go

The library is ran by volunteers and is open only on Sunday afternoons 1:00-5:00 pm from April to October and is closed when the temperature is over 95°F. There are no public restrooms.

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August 31, 2022

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