Let’s Talk Clovis: Clovis High Graduates’ Memories of our 1914 Carnegie Library

L-R: Doris Borsi (CHS 1960), Carole Pendergrass Linenbach (CHS 1964), Sherri Stephenson Evert (CHS 1965). (Courtesy of Clovis Museum)

Carole Pendergrass Linenbach joined CUSD and taught classes at Cole, Tarpey and Temperance-Kutner elementary schools for 20 years. Her dedicated community service continues the legacy of her father Dr. Clayton Pendergrass.

Doris Brosi joined CUSD and taught fifth grade classes (Cole and Gettysberg) for 38 years. Her maternal grandparents (Savino) arrived in this area in 1888.

Sherri Stephenson Evert has dedicated her time and resources to the Clovis Community Medical Center since it’s opening in 1988.  Sherri and husband Paul’s significant donations resulted with the hospital restaurant (Evert’s Bistro) named in their honor. 

Carole Pendergrass Linenbach: Many of us still affectionately refer to the Chamber of Commerce building on Pollasky Ave as “The Old Library”. The library was a very special place. It was a place of mystery and wonder. It was so quiet.

It was a real treat to go up the steps, into the library past the beautiful old tall trees, and into the cool room (before air conditioning!) to the children’s section to hear a story. Our Librarian, Mrs. Stevenson was a wonderful lady who helped instill in me the love of books. Her story time was something I truly looked forward to each week.

She was a very patient teacher and taught us how to look up information in the many drawers of the card catalog. It was a special time when I moved from the south side of the building to the north side to check out the books for older kids and I continued to study there into college.

I remember how the library served as the meeting place for the beginning of the Halloween parade for us in the 50’s and early 60’s. After meeting in front of the building kids would travel south on Pollasky, east on Fifth Street and go to the Clovis Veterans Memorial Building where Rex Phebus would have a great evening of fun set up.

We were so fortunate to grow up in a town with special people and treasured buildings. We were so lucky to grow up in Clovis!

Doris Brosi: I have many fond memories of the old Clovis Library. Being raised in the country in Clovis, with the nearest store being at least three miles away, it was a real treat to be able to go to the “city” of Clovis and check out books we could take home and read.

I remember how excited we were walking up the steps of the “big” building. The only books we had then were the ones our parents were able to buy for us, so it was fun having a variety from which to choose and we were able to keep them for two weeks and go back and get more!

At that time, we had no school library at my elementary school, so the only recreational books available to us were the ones our teachers had in the classrooms.

The activities we loked forward to in the 50’s was limited so our weekly and or bi-weekly trips to the Clovis Library were greatly anticipated.

Sherri Stephenson Evert: My memories of the Clovis Library on Pollasky Avenue are numerous.

The building alone was the most stately in Clovis. We would park our bikes in the metal racks in front, walk up the cement steps, open the heavy doors and peacefulness could be felt immediately

We all knew to zip our lips around our teeth as soon as the door closed, as Mrs. Stevenson would be standing behind the hand cared wooden desk with her pointed finger up to her pursed red lips.

If we turned right to the section of books, we wanted the floor always squeaked. Once again, the lady with the finger to her lips reminded us to tread lightly. We never figured a quiet pathway.

I’m sure there was no air conditioning, however, the windows were opened, he shade from the ancient elm trees and the cool breeze seemed to keep the rooms pleasant all summer. In the winter, the only sounds were the waters flowing through the heating radiators that lined the walls under the windows.

We could sit on the floor to read or sit in the straight-backed oak chairs at the rectangle whiny oak tables.

Mrs. Stevenson took the time to teach us to use the index cards for alphabetized drawers, the Dewey Decimal System to find what we needed, which came in very handy in college.

Even today when I walk into the Chamber building and walk the interior steps, I see Mrs. Stevenson, smell the scent of paper and books and hear the sound of quiet.

These memories and the 1914 Carnegie Library are a part of our rich heritage.

Peg Bos
Peg Bos is the president of the Clovis Museum on 4th and Pollasky avenues in Old Town Clovis. She not only manages the museum but she also writes her Let's Talk Clovis column in our publication which features and highlight the amazing history of our city and culture. One fun fact about Peg Bos, she was the first female mayor of Clovis from 1984-86.