BILLINGS – For this week’s Q2 Rewind, we’re diving into memories of an old home for a downtown Billings landmark: the placed that housed the Parmly Billings Library from 1969 to 2014.
Watch the Q2 Rewind above to see some recently unearthed images of the old library location, along with thoughts from children’s librarian Cindy Patterson about the value libraries hold for growing children.
That building was originally a Billings Hardware location, but turned out to be a suitable home for the Parmly Billings Library as it started to outgrow its first home on Montana Avenue. The library was founded in 1901 in the building that now houses the Western Heritage Center and was named for Parmly Billings, the first-born son of Frederick Billings, the city’s namesake.
During the 1960s, a debate raged for where to move the library. Some floated the idea of a location further west, where it seemed the town seemed to be spreading. Then-Mayor Willard Fraser, known for his wild ideas, championed the idea of tearing down Cobb Field and building a new facility there.
Eventually, the city settled on the idea of moving into the Billings Hardware location, where generations of young readers learned the joys of reading from 1969 to 2014.