1999 Terry Winner - Tyrrell Historical Library, Beaumont, TX
The Tyrrell Historical Library
695 Pearl Street
P. O. Box 3827
Beaumont, TX 77704
OTHER AWARDS: Registered Texas Historic Landmark; National Register of Historic Places
HISTORIC SIGNIFICANCE: The Romanesque-Gothic building was designed by Alonzo N. Dawson, and built for the First Baptist Church of Beaumont in 1902-1903 for $51,000. Building with rugged rock-faced limestone, Dawson captured the feeling of a Romanesque castle but eliminated rounded arch openings, yet added Norman and Gothic elements of rounded stair towers, large pointed-arch windows, and lancet windows in the main tower. The building has a steep roof, arched gables, rounded pilasters, soaring spires and delicate bronze finials. After the Baptists out grew the building in 1923, it became the first public library of Beaumont when Captain W. C. Tyrrell purchased the building and donated it to the citizens of Beaumont in memory of his wife Helen.
HISTORY OF STRUCTURE: Constructed by G. D. Patterson, the building reflected the Richardsonian Romanesque era of the late nineteenth century. Tyrrell bought the building for $70,000, and after $22,800 in renovations, Tyrrell Public Library opened in September 1926. It served as the city's main library until 1974 when it came to be used for city offices and warehouse storage. The upper floor housed the Tyrrell Historical Library.
RESTORATION: By the early 1980s, the building need major repairs, and the city replaced the roof and restored the stained glass windows. In 1987, the Tyrrell Historical Library Association formed and continued the restoration through grants, donations, and fund raising events. Architect David Hoffman supervised the restoration, and in July 1990, the Tyrrell Historical Library reopened after expenditures of more than $1.8 million. Today, patrons and visitors enjoy the library's permanent collections of genealogy and Texana, and use its meeting rooms.