Council of Independent Colleges Historic Campus Architecture Project


Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library

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Institution Name: Whitworth College
Original/Historic Place Name: Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library
Location on Campus: center of campus
Date(s) of Construction:
1948original construction Rigg, Archibald
1968addition VanDyne, Carl
1991addition Nielson, Ben
Designer: Archibald Rigg (1948); Carl VanDyne (1968); Ben Nielsen (1991)
Type of Place: Individual building
Style: Modern/post-WWII, Contemporary (Glossary)
Significance: architecture, history
Narrative: see below
References: see below
Foundation: concrete
Walls: brick
Roof: composition shingle
1948-present (2006)library

The Harriet Cheney Cowles Memorial Library was built in 1948 as a memorial to Harriet Cheney Cowles, the wife of the late William Cowles, Sr. Funding was provided by the Cowles family, which remains one of the most prominent families in eastern Washington.

In 1968 and 1991, west and east wings were added to the central structure. Architect Carl Vandyne designed the west wing in 1968. The 1991 addition, designed by Ben Nielsen, added an entire east wing to the library. The Gothic revival style was complemented by large circular windows on the east side, as well as large windows on the north and south sides of the building. The library dominates the center of the campus.


Gray, Al. Not By Might: The History of Whitworth College. Spokane, WA: Whitworth College, 1965.

Soden, Dale E. A Venture of Mind and Spirit: An Illustrated History of Whitworth College. Spokane, WA: Whitworth College, 1990.


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Last update: November 2006