Kingshighway is one of seventeen branches in the St. Louis Public Library system.
It is located at 2260 South Vandeventer Avenue in the Southwest Garden Neighborhood.
It takes its name from the most recognizable street in it's vicinity, even though is at the intersection of Southwest, Kingshighway and Vandeventer.
The library has roots dating back to 1916 when it was the Fairmount Branch. Philip Rau had a “deposit station” in his store at 5131 Shaw Avenue, and this small frame building was used until the Fairmount sub-Branch opened in October 1916.
5131 Shaw Avenue via Google Streetview
The sub-Branch became a full Branch in 1960. Then the current Kingshighway Branch opened at 4641 Shenandoah Avenue in November, 1962 in a rented store building. The architectural firm Berger-Fields-Torno-Hurley designed an addition and alterations to the building and the construction firms of Herdlein Construction Corporation and Frank Darr Construction began work on the remodel in April of 1973.
Here's a photo from 1976, showing the design that was so incredibly of its time, with near brutalist use of large concrete shapes and fort-like form. If my memory serves me, the white building was highlighted in bright green paint and lettering.
photo source: SLPL "Then and Now"
The branch closed and underwent a full renovation in early 2000 and reopened on May 5, 2001. The most unique characteristic of this branch is likely its distinctive round structure complimented by the large picture windows facing Kingshighway and Southwest Avenue that allow for an abundance of natural light. It is a nice design that utilizes the atypical property lines to it's advantage.
entrance off the parking lot
The bike racks are curiously located along Shenandoah, quite far from the entrance which is to the north. I presume this is intended for the employees, but one is lacking near the main entrance, as evidenced in the photo below.
The interior of this one is fantastic. It is open and inviting. The natural light is arguably the best of all the branches. Seating is spread out and varied from formal tables and chairs to bean bags.
There is a "teen lounge" area, a spot for smaller kids and of course the general seating, personal computer room and sizable music and movie selection.
As in most cases, the foyers have revolving displays inviting patrons to try something new. And artwork is scattered throughout the reading area to brighten the space.
But undoubtedly, the grand circular reading room is the center of attention of this branch, and look up to read 33 separate passages from a full range of authors.
The one I'll share is from one of my favorite American authors, Willa Cather from her 1918 book "My Antonia":
"I first heard of Antonia on what seemed to me an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America."
There are only two mysteries I need to solve for this branch.
Mysteries at the Library (Kingshighway Branch)
- How were the featured literary quotes selected?
- Are there any photos of the Fairmont Sub-Branch?
Click "Read more" below to see the full list of quotes.
"Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank and having nothing to do:" Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
"All children, except one, grow up." Peter Pan by J.M. Barrie
"April is the cruelest month,..." The Waste Land by T.S. Eliot
"Because I could not stop for Death, He kindly stopped for me;..." Because I Could Not Stop for Death by Emily Dickinson
"Call me Ishmael" Moby Dick by Herman Melville
"Dorothy lived in the midst of the great Kansas prairies,..." The Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
"Every Who down in Who-ville like Christmas a lot... But the Grinch, who lived just north of Who-ville, did not." How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
"Garp's mother, Jenny Fields, was arrested in Boston in 1942 for wounding a man in a movie theater." The World According to Garp by John Irving
"He was an old man who fished alone in a skiff in the Gulf Stream and he had gone eighty-four days now without taking a fish." The Old Man and the Sea by Earnest Hemingway
"Here is Edward Bear, coming downstairs now, bump, bump, bump, on the back of his head, behind Christopher Robin" Winnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne
"I am always drawn back to places where I have lived, the houses and their neighborhoods." Breakfast at Tiffany's by Truman Capote
"I am an invisible man." Invisible Man by Ralph Ellison
"I first heard of Anotonia on what seemed to me an interminable journey across the great midland plain of North America." My Antonia by Willa Cather
" 'I have been here before,' I said; I had been there before; first with Sebastian more than twenty years ago on a cloudless day in June..." Brightshead Revisted by Evelyn Waugh
"I've known rivers: I've known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow of human blood in human veins." The Negro Speaks of Rivers by Langston Hughes
"In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit." The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
"In my younger and more vulnerable years my father gave me some advice that I've been turning over in my mind ever since." The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
"In the middle of the journey of our life, I came to myself in a dark wood, for the straight way was lost." The Divine Comedy by Dante
"It was a bright cold day in April, and the clocks were striking thirteen." 1984 by George Orwell
"It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,..." A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens
"Last night I dreamt I went to Manderley again." Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
"Once upon a midnight dreary, while I pondered, weak and weary,..." The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe
"Once when I was six years old I saw a magnificent picture in a book, called True Stories from Nature, about the primeval forest." The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupery
"Ships at a distance have every man's wish on board." Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
"Shish! Shwish! It was spring, and Brother Wind was back." Mirandy and Brother Wind by Patricia McKissack
"The night Max wore his wolf suit and made mischief of one kind and another his mother called him "WILD THING!" Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak
"The old woman remembered a swan she had bought many years ago in Shanghai for a foolish sum." The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan
"There will come soft rains and the smell of the ground, And swallows circling with their shimmering sound;" There Will Come Soft Rain by Sara Teasdale
"Two households, both alike in dignity (in fair Verona, where we lay our scene), From ancient grudge break to new mutiny,..." Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
"Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both..." The Road Not Taken by Robert Frost
" 'Where's Papa going with that ax?' said Fern to her mother as they were setting the table for breakfast." Charlotte's Web by E.B. White
"You better not never tell nobody but God." The Color Purple by Alice Walker
"You don't know about me without you have read a book by the name of The Adventures of Tom Sawyer; but that ain't no matter." The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain