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Julia Ideson Library

Rare documents and one ghost at the original city library

This ornate Spanish Renaissance Revival-style structure opened in 1926 as the city’s central library, and is listed in the National Register of Historic Places. Like any historic building worth its marble, this one has a ghost. The building also has Houston’s largest installation of public murals from the Depression-era Works Progress Administration and its extensive archives include 4 million photographs of historic events and everyday life in Houston.

Although no longer our central library, the Julia Ideson Library remains a rich literary and historic resource center with plenty of special programs open to the public. Now, about that ghost—rumored to be one Julius Frank Cramer, who was a music-loving janitor/security guard/gardener for the library, who was so attached to the place that the building’s side street entrance is even listed as his address on his death certificate. Sheet music is occasionally found scattered around the library,  Strauss waltzes on violin sometimes echo through the halls from nowhere, and at times there are sounds of the nails of Mr. Cramer’s faithful German Shepherd clicking around.

Also on hand:  a 1615 edition of Don Quixote, a 15th-century illuminated Book of Hours from Flanders and more than 300 rare maps of Houston dating from 1561. 

500 McKinney St.
Houston, TX 77002
Sun: Closed
Mon: 9am - 6pm
Tue: Closed
Wed: Closed
Thu: 9am - 6pm
Fri: Closed
Sat: 9am - 6pm

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