and Research Facility
You can contact us at:
PO Box 632
Click here for directions to PCGS Library and Research Facility
The PCGS Research Facility is located at 120 E. Jackson,
on the southeast corner of the town square in Bolivar.
Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
or by appointment.
INCLEMENT WEATHER POLICY:
If Bolivar schools are closed because of weather, the library will also be closed. There will be no night meeting, either, if school is closed on a Thursday. If bad weather develops on a Thursday afternoon before the regular monthly meeting, members can call 417-777-2820 to find out the status of the meeting. Click here for school closings list at ky3.com
Contact PCGS for more information.
CLOSING DATES FOR 2023:
Monday, January 16 (MLK Jr. Day)
Monday, January 30 (PCGS Staff Training Day-cancelled because of inclement weather)
Monday, February 20 (President's Day)
Monday, February 27 (PCGS Staff Training Day)
Monday, May 29 (Memorial Day)
Monday, June 19 (Juneteenth)
Monday, July 24 - Wednesday, August 2 (indoor maintenance)
Monday, September 4 (Labor Day)
Monday - Sunday, November 20 - November 26 (Thanksgiving)
Monday, December 18 through Tuesday, January 2 (Christmas break)
We will open at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, January 3, 2024
For renovation pictures, click here
Library Holdings Index
The society's library holdings are now on Libib.com!
Click here to search by title, author or keyword.
Microfilm Index at the PCGS Library
Click here to see a list of the microfilm available in the library.
Archives Holdings Index
Go to Our Archives page or jump right to A-K or L-Z or Open Shelves Holdings
Contact PCGS for more information about the books listed.
CREW FILMS SEGMENT IN POLK COUNTY
LIBRARY BUILDING DECLARED HISTORIC SITE
In November 2001, PCGS started the application process to get the PCGS Library building, formerly the public library, listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Lou Kemp was the coordinator of the process.
The building was built by a grant from Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Corporation in 1914/15. T. H. B. Dunnegan donated the land where the building is located.
picture from the early days of the library
The building was designated as a historic site because of its "social significance in the life of Bolivar and Polk County" according to President Susan Sparks. It was officially added to the National Register of Historic Places on July 17, 2003.
For more on this story, see the article below from the Bolivar Herald-Free Press, August 27, 2003, page 1-A. (Reprinted with permission. A big thank-you to BH-FP!)
OLD LIBRARY IS COUNTY'S FIRST
The members of the society started the application process for the historic designation in November 2001. Lou Kemp acted as coordinator for the project, gathering the necessary documentation about the role of the library in community life.
"It had always been a dream of mine to get this building named as a historic building," Kemp said. "The other members of the society were a lot of help; every time they were looking in old newspapers for someone's obituary, if they saw something about the library, they copied it, too. We gathered a lot of information."
The building was built in 1915, funded by an $8,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie and the Carnegie Corp. The Bolivar Library Board was headed at that time by T.H.B. Dunnegan, who also donated the land where the building is located. The architect who designed the building, James Heckenlively of Springfield, was also involved in the design of the Shrine Mosque, St. John's Hospital and other Springfield landmarks.
"This kind of research wasn't that difficult for us," said Susan Sparks, president of the genealogical society. "We have experience in finding the history of people; it wasn't that different to find the history of this building."
An application for a historic site has to go through the state Office of Historic Preservation, which approved the Bolivar application in April. The state office forwarded the request to the National Park Service in Washington, D.C., which officially added the library to the National Register of Historic Places on July 17.
"There are two ways to be designated as a historic site; either through architectural significance or through social significance to the community," Sparks said. "We went for the social significance of this building in the life of Bolivar and Polk County."
The building is much less elaborate than many other Carnegie libraries in other parts of the country, but Sparks said she doesn't mind.
"They only had $8,000 to build with, so they spent their money on structural stability, not on decoration," she said. "They put big steel beams in the floor and in the ceiling, and that's one reason the building is in such good shape. I'm thankful for that."
Sparks and Kemp both said they hope other owners of downtown buildings will get involved in historic preservation.
"We just felt this building was important to the landscape of the square and the life of the community," Kemp said. "That's why we wanted to save it."
Before (2007) . . . . . . . . . . . . During renovation, September and October 2007
Almost finished October 2007
WORK ON THE OUTSIDE STAIRS
The library was built in 1914; the first set of stairs failed in 1926. New ones were built on top of the old stairs. There was no support built for the new stairs, hence the reason the latest ones had bowed and cracked. The old ones were knocked out and new ones were poured in their place.
Day 1, July 2009
Day ?, August 2009
Kenny Jones with Bolivar Insulation installs windows at the Polk County Genealogical Society’s Library and Research Facility in downtown Bolivar Wednesday, January 20, 2010. All 30 windows in the building are being replaced to increase energy efficiency and maintain better climate control for the documents stored in the facility. The windows being replaced were installed in the 1960s.
Caption from page 1A, Bolivar Herald Free Press, Friday, January 22, 2010. Photo by Charlotte Marsch.
Other pictures by PCGS members
Solar panels were installed the last week of June 2016
on the roof of the PCGS research facility.
Before & After:
From across the street:
Business meetings are the
first Thursday of every month at the
Copyright 2003-2023, Polk County Genealogical Society, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Last revised: January 1, 2023
Located on the southeast corner of the courthouse square in Bolivar, MO
If you found this
website to be helpful, please remember that the
Polk County Genealogical Society is a
501(c)(3) non-profit organization. This means that
any donation, both large and small, is tax
deductible. This could include
books, needed items or cash donations. Click
button to donate through PayPal.