Hearst Free Library

Main and 4th Sts., Anaconda, Montana


Hearst Free Library

Photo taken by Richard Doody in September 2018




"Significance: Built with funds donated by Phoebe Hearst (wife of George Hearst, San Francisco Financier), the Hearst Free Library stands as a beautiful monument to Anaconda's rich building history before the turn of the century. The two-story building was erected in 1898, on a lot measuring 150' by 140' at the corner of Main and Fourth Streets. The structure itself rests in the center of this lot and measures 72' by 75', facing on Fourth Street. Pressed brick and gray Gregson Granite were used for the exterior walls, foundation and trim. Eight granite steps, 38' long, lead up to a deep portico with an entablature resting on two massive granite columns carrying corinthian capitals. A heavy copper cornice rest upon a plain frieze. When opened to the public in June 1898, the Hearst Free Library contained 2,175 volumes and carried the leading periodicals. Phoebe Hearst continued to maintain the Library between 1898 and 1903 at an approximate cost of $7,000 per year. In 1903, Mrs. Hearst gave the Library to the City of Anaconda with a $1,000 per year grant for three years, for the continued purchase of new books. Shortly after its completion, a horizontal tubular boiler was installed in the Library's basement. Manufactured at the local Anaconda Company Foundry Department (formerly the Tuttle Manufacturing and Supply Co.) this piece of heating equipment constituted the first licensed boiler in the State of Montana. A State Boiler Inspector's Certificate, dated 1899 and filed by Frank A. Burns, indicates that this boiler was safe to carry 25 pounds of steam per square inch. It currently rests intact and in situ in the newly restored library building." - Survey number: HABS MT-53-K

National Register information 

Posted to the National Register of Historic Places on June 4, 1973
Reference number
Area of significance
Level of significance
Evaluation criteria
C - Design/Construction
Property type
Historic function
Current function
Period of significance
Significant year

Update Log 

  • May 27, 2019: Updated by Richard Doody: Added historical information
  • September 22, 2018: New photo from Richard Doody