The Des Moines Public Library was founded in 1866 and held a collection of 2,300 books when it opened its doors to the public. The library had many different homes until this building was constructed in 1903. Built on the location of the early home of General Marcellus M. Crocker, it was the first building approved for construction along the riverfront by Mayor MacVicar in 1897. For its first 25 years the building housed the Cumming School of Art and Fine Arts Association Gallery. The Public Library is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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