Situated just across the street from the Pleasant Hill Post Office, the Booth Public Library is another building that conveys the speed at which Pleasant Hill was developing in the mid-20th century. Constructed in the same rush of development that brought about the Art Deco remodel of the Peoples Theater, the Booth’s Modernist style was a symbol for the town’s forward momentum during the postwar economic boom. Its utilitarian, boxy, brick and concrete construction stood in contrast to the neo-colonial style of the post office just across the street, visually anchoring citizens of the time in both the present and the past.
The history of the Booth Public Library is naturally intertwined with that of the Cass County Public Library system as a whole. Cass County did not have an official library district until 1945, when Missouri’s new state constitution established an initiative to promote library construction in many rural counties. This library was part of Cass County’s first wave of expansion, opening in 1947, and primarily funded by Eden Booth, a notable publisher in the area. Through the support of the state, Booth, and the executive team at the Cass County Library, Pleasant Hill finally had a library to call its own.
The library served the community for decades, in between mergers and severances from the wider Mid-Continent Public Library system until it was eventually converted into a retail space. Today, the building is an art and antique store, but the structure of the original library has been preserved, including a dedication plaque beside the entrance naming Booth along with other supporters of the library. After vacating this building, Pleasant Hill’s library moved to a spot in a shopping center on Route 7, where it remains today as the city waits for the completion of a new complex on Highway 7 this summer. While the library itself may have moved, the site on Veterans Parkway is testament to the community’s dedication to bettering itself through access to information found in public libraries.