June 14, 2024

Flora Tenzler's magnificent gift to Lakewood

by Phil Raschke
Oct 01, 2022

In the early 1960s, the Lakewood area had a small temporary library but rapid growth created a need for a permanent facility. The Tenzler Foundation rose to the occasion and in 1963 donated the funds for a 8,612 square foot library.

Officially known as the Flora B. Tenzler Memorial Library, ownership and maintenance of the building belonged to an organization called “FRIENDS of Lakewood Library” while Pierce County Library System provided staff and operations.

In the 1970s the Tenzler Foundation made an additional grant to pay for an expansion project that quadrupled the library’s size.

In 1982, the Tenzler Foundation terminated its activities and requested the official name of the library be changed to “Lakewood Library”. Up to its closing last year, however, many residents still called it the Tenzler.

As time moved on, the FRIENDS group believed maintenance of the building was becoming increasingly challenging. They decided it would be best to donate the Library to the Pierce County Library System. The donation was completed in 1992 and included $350,000 cash for needed repairs and renovation.

By early 2022 the Library again needed extensive repairs and officially closed in June. While plans for a new permanent location are being finalized, a temporary location is set to open later this year.

Meanwhile, visit the Museum and enjoy the new exhibit. Learn about The Big One a section of a 586-year-old Douglas Fir almost 13 feet in diameter that was located next to the Tenzler entrance.

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