THE “MUTUAL IMPROVEMENT CLUB”
Want to know what it takes to transform a rough and tumble Brazos Valley town from an unpaved, gun-toting community with more than its share of saloons to one of erudite civility and education? It takes an all-female organization called the Mutual Improvement Club; at least that’s what was required in the Brazos Region town of Bryan in 1902. Club members were determined to bring civility to Bryan through reading and exposure to classic literature and ideas by building the community’s first library. Members requisitioned funds available from philanthropist Andrew Carnegie whose program to finance libraries across the nation helped bring needed educational materials to American communities at the turn of the century. Bryan’s new library, named for its financial benefactor and constructed for ten thousand dollars, was designed by Texas architect Fred R. Giesecke in the classic Greek Revival Style, complete with carved acanthus leaves decorating the building’s dramatic columns. Completed in 1903 and beautifully restored almost a century later, the library is an architectural joy to tour. Now known as the Carnegie History Center and houses a collection of materials documenting local history and an archive of genealogical research on Brazos Valley citizens.
Carnegie Center of Brazos Valley History
Monday - Friday 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Closed Saturday and Sunday.