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Lamar State College - Port Arthur Gates Memorial Library

Gates Memorial Library


Gates Memorial Library Building Photo

Historical plaques mounted on and near the library:

Plaque mounted near the sidewalk to the right of the library:

GATES MEMORIAL LIBRARY

  JOHN WARNE "BET A MILLION" GATES (1855-1910), A NATIVE OF ILLINOIS, WAS INSTRUMENTAL IN THE EARLY GROWTH OF PORT ARTHUR. A PROMINENT BUSINESSMAN AND FINANCIER NOTED FOR HIS PROMOTION OF BARBED WIRE, HE BECAME A LEADER IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE CITY FOUNDED BY ARTHUR STILLWELL, THE PRESIDENT OF THE KANSAS CITY SOUTHERN RAILROAD. GATES WAS INITIALLY ATTRACTED TO THE PORT ARTHUR AREA BY THE LOCAL OIL BOOM OF THE EARLY 1900S. AS AN INVESTOR, HE FIGURED PROMINENTLY IN THE DEVELOPMENT OF THE TEXAS COMPANY, NOW TEXACO.

  LATER A RESIDENT OF NEW YORK, GATES MAINTAINED HIS BUSINESS AND PHILANTHROPIC INTERESTS IN PORT ARTHUR WITH THE HELP OF HIS SON CHARLES. GATE'S CONTRIBUTIONS TO THE CITY INCLUDE PORT ARTHUR BUSINESS COLLEGE, ST. MARY'S HOSPITAL, AND THE PLAZA HOTEL.

  IN 1909 JOHN GATES SET ASIDE LAND AT THIS SITE FOR A PUBLIC LIBRARY, BUT INITIAL PLANS FOR THE PROJECT WERE DISCONTINUED AFTER HIS DEATH IN 1911. PLANNING RESUMED FIVE YEARS LATER WHEN IT BECAME APPARENT THE PUBLIC LIBRARY IN THE NEARBY HIGH SCHOOL COULD NOT ADEQUATELY SERVE THE CITY. THROUGH THE EFFORTS OF GATE'S WIDOW DELLORA (1855-1918) AND LOCAL RESIDENTS, THIS LIBRARY WAS COMPLETED IN 1917. THE FOLLOWING YEAR IT WAS DEDICATED AND DEEDED TO THE CITY.

(1981)

Plaques mounted to the right of the front door:

GATES MEMORIAL LIBRARY

  JOHN W. GATES (1855-1911), A NOTED
FINANCIER AND PHILANTHROPIST, SET
ASIDE LAND AT THIS SITE FOR A
PUBLIC LIBRARY. IN 1917, THROUGH THE
EFFORTS OF HIS WIDOW DELLORA
(1855-1918), THIS CLASSICAL REVIVAL
LIBRARY WAS COMPLETED. IT WAS
DESIGNED BY THE NEW YORK FIRM OF
WARREN & WESTMORE, ARCHITECTS
OF SEVERAL NEW YORK LANDMARKS,
INCLUDING GRAND CENTRAL STATION.
DEEDED TO THE CITY OF PORT ARTHUR
IN 1918, THE LIBRARY IS NOW PART OF
LAMAR UNIVERSITY AT PORT ARTHUR.
RECORDED TEXAS HISTORIC LANDMARK -- 1981


ENTERED IN
THE NATIONAL REGISTER
OF HISTORIC PLACES
  1981