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Joe Barnhart Bee County Library (Praeger Building)
A handsome three-bay storefront of buff brick trimmed with dark red brick, the hardware store of Victoria-born merchant Albert Praeger was substantial by Beeville standards at the turn of the twentieth century. The building has been attributed to William C. Stephenson, but since he lived in San Francisco and Buffalo in 1906, this is unlikely. Another candidate is Victoria architect Charles Praeger. In 1979 Houston surgeon Joseph Barnhart, who had grown up in Beeville, bought and rehabilitated the Praeger Building. The foundation he endowed transformed the building into a model small-town public library. Houston architect Bailey preserved the existing features of the building's shell, within which the book stacks and reading, administrative, and work spaces of the library were inserted. A glass-faced side entrance, constructed on the adjoining site of a demolished commercial building, contains a new stair and a glass-sided elevator.
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