Graves Library Museum
Thanks to the generosity of Russell Marshall and our many volunteer members, Graves Public Library has been reopened as Graves Library Museum. The museum is open Saturdays from Memorial Day to Labor Day at 10am until 2pm. Private tours are also available year-round.
Built in 1915
Located on Third Street, three and a half blocks west from Highway 35, in Wakefield, Nebraska, this library was one of the most luxurious libraries in the area when it was constructed in 1915 by Philo Graves. It was established as Graves Public Library as a memorial to his son, Jay.
Philo Graves had a been a sharp public figure in the Wakefield community in 1915. He also built and donated another building to be used as a school. In addition, he donated money and assisted with the building of local churches. He provided land for the cemetery, and created Graves Park, which still exists today, with scores of walnut trees. A subdivision of the city is called the Graves Addition.
The library today
This library has been serving Wakefield for over nine decades. The original structure held a portico entrance standing six feet tall, above a 13-step exterior staircase. The building is a great honor for the Graves family and served the community proudly.
The Graves Library Museum is operated by the Wakefield Heritage Organization and is owned by Russell Marshall. A walk through the building will take you as far back as 1881. This building is listed on the Nebraska Historical Society Register.
To Marshall, those old wrenches aren't just iron. They're a symbol of modern agriculture's roots. A reminder of how different things were a couple generations ago. The wrenches Marshall collects and displays in the basement of the Graves Public Library Museum here represent the ingenuity of farmers and manufacturers who were constantly looking for a better, more efficient machine to help them get the most out of their land.