||Dr. Eugene Clark Library|
This unique and historically significant building was built with a $10,000 bequest from Dr. Eugene Clark. Dr. Clark was a native of New Orleans, and his father died on the battlefield during the Civil War when Dr. Clark was only three. Mr. Clark's life-long friend E.H Purcell was with him as he lay dying and Mr. Clark requested that Purcell take care of his wife and son. Three years later Mrs. Clark lay on her death-bed. She entrusted the care of her young son to her dearest friend Miss H.M Young. Miss Young raised the boy as if he was her own and Mr. Purcell watched over the progress of the young boy as he grew.
The young Clark was a great satisfaction to both Miss Young and Mr. Purcell. He graduated from Tulane Medical School with highest honors and did his residency at Charity Hospital. He graduated in May of 1883 and came to Lockhart.
He entered practice with Dr. Lancaster, but Lancaster soon abandoned his practice, leaving the 21 year old Clark to handle the practice alone. He practiced medicine for 13 years in Lockhart and during this time a mutual love between Dr. Clark and the town grew.
In 1896, Dr. Clark left Lockhart to study in London and Vienna. In 1897 he returned to Texas to set up practice in San Antonio in his new specialty -- ear, nose and throat. While practicing in San Antonio, Dr. Clark became very ill. He went to New York for surgery. On his way to New York he came through Lockhart to see his old friends. In New York his condition was pronounced incurable and he left to return to the only home he had known in New Orleans.
On his death bed, with Mr. Purcell and Miss Young by his side he dictated a will specifying that the citizens of Lockhart should have a library and lyceum. His will left $10,000 to the people of Lockhart, of which $6,000 was to be used for construction, $1,000 to buy books and the remainder was to be put in a trust to maintain the building and purchase new books.
The Library served as cultural center for the city of Lockhart for many years. President William Howard Taft has spoken from the stage in the library and Dorothy Sarnoff has performed here, remarking to her audience, "If you are bored with my performance tonight, you can just reach over and grab a good book to read."
Many local community groups and organizations held theatrical productions, recitals and concerts in the library. The Local Community concert group held seasonal programs in the building until 1956. Many local residents fondly recall the days of performing on the stage in the library.
The library is a two story, Greek cross plan and is a Classical Revival building of red brick with limestone trim, with four projecting pediment pavilions forming the arms. The main facade facing east is divided into three bays by pilasters and contains a central stained glass memorial window classically framed by pilasters and a round keystone arch. The southeast entrance has double doors with a mullet-lighted fanlight also framed by pilasters and entablature and supports the central dome.
The architecture of the building has been a source of curiosity to many professional architects, and the library is visited annually by many amateur and professional architects, including regular visits by architecture majors from the University of Texas.
Inside the building the pressed tin ceiling, woodwork, lighting fixtures and perimeter shelving are all original to the building.
When built, the library had auditorium style seating in the center of the building and on the balcony. In 1956 the seating was removed to allow for the expansion of the book collection.
Today the library continues to serve as a focal point for community activities and is the major source of informational and pleasure reading for Lockhart and Caldwell County residents.
The Library Today
While an historical treasure in the community, the Library operates as a modern, efficient and functioning Library serving the information and recreational needs of Lockhart and Caldwell County citizens. The Library provides the use of six Internet computers as well as public access computers with word processing and printing capabilities. The Library has a multitude of CD-ROM databases to coincide with about 135 magazine/newspaper subscriptions. Today the Library can easily obtain any required book not carried in the existing collection through the use of the Inter-Library Loan.
Getting Your Library Card
The Dr. Eugene Clark Library offers a library card free of charge if you are a resident or property owner in the incorporated area of Lockhart. If you are a student or faculty member of Lockhart Independent School District you may receive a library card free of charge. If you reside outside the city limits of Lockhart you may receive a card for a $10.00 per year fee. All Library cards are issued for one year and all replacement cards are 50 cents each.
To obtain a library card, you will need to provide proof of residence. Your identification may be as simple as a drivers license, a utility bill, a rent receipt or a piece of mail with your current address on it and canceled by the Post Office.