Inside the Library and Arcade

The Arcade and Library were two of the most elaborate structures in Pullman. The Arcade contained offices, shops, the bank, the theatre, and the extensive library "donated" by Mr. Pullman and considered to be one of the most complete of its kind in the United States at that time.

Inside Library & Arcade

The theater seated 800 and troupes performed twice a month after being "selected with an eye to inculcating proper conduct and values." Tickets, however, were priced moderately to high, thus keeping the crowds away while still making money. The view shown here of the theater is from the balcony, which also provided access to the library. An eight thousand volume collection, the library was "elegantly furnished with Wilton carpets and plush-covered chairs" and lovely painted walls. It was Pullman's wish in the design of the town to surround workers "as far as possible with all the privileges of large wealth." This privilege was not free. Nothing was free in Pullman. Workers in 1893 were expected to pay $3.00 a year for the use of the library and an additional $1.00 annually for any child--"rather high for workmen in the days of free libraries."

Pullman was called a "town from which all that is ugly, discordant and demoralizing is eliminated." The library was not ugly, but it was "too luxurious for the average working man" and had the "tendency to create a spirit of caste in the little town." A spirit of rebellion would soon follow.


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