Thursday, January 26, 2012

Carnegie Library

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie set up a program to build libraries around the world. Communities who wanted to have a Carnegie Library had to apply for grants and agree to provide matching contributions for the buildings. The Carnegie Library buildings were built between 1883 and 1929.

If you have followed my blog, you know by now that I love old buildings. I love the grand way the builders once constructed the facilities, and I can see the pride the workers applied to their trade. I have driven by the Carnegie Library in Ardmore in the past. One day I took a different street in Elk City, Oklahoma and saw this Carnegie Library. I ask my husband (who knows more facts about more stuff than the average person) why there was a library in Ardmore and one in Elk City with the same name. He told me about Andrew Carnegie and his library program.

Carnegie Library 221 West Broadway Elk City, Oklahoma
Then I found out that Andrew Carnegie had granted money to build 24 Carnegie Libraries in the State of Oklahoma! That is awesome! Not only did the communities have to provide matching contributions to build the facility, they also had to agree to collect a tax to continue providing books, supplies and staff the library in their community. As you can see by the information below every town raised a different matching amount. Elk City got a $10,000 grant, so their building must have cost $20,000 to build and in 1914 that was a lot of money! 

Ardmore March 20, 1903 $15,000 grant - 500 Stanley Street SW
Current location of the Pansy Garden Club

Bartlesville April 23, 1908 $12,500 grant - 7th and Osage

Chickasha February 12, 1903 $10,000 grant -  527 Iowa Ave
Razed in 1963

Collinsville June 1, 1915 $7,500 grant - 1223 W Main St

Cordell January 6, 1911 $9,000 grant - 105 E 1st St
Location of Washita County Historical Society museum since 1981

El Reno November 25, 1903 $12,500 grant - 215 E. Wade

Elk City (shown in photos) April 13, 1914 $10,000 grant - 221 West Broadway

Enid February 20, 1904 $25,000 grant - 402 North Independence Avenue
Razed in 1972

Frederick September 25, 1914 $10,000 grant - 200 East Grand

Guthrie October 17, 1901 $26,000 grant - 406 E Oklahoma Ave

Hobart May 2, 1911 $10,000 grant -  200 S Main

Lawton March 31, 1916 $20,000 grant - 5th & "B" Avenue
Currently Lawton town hall

McAlester March 24, 1906 $25,000 grant - 325 E. Grand Avenue
Razed in 1973

Miami March 15, 1916 $10,000 grant -  200 N. Main
Razed in 1962

Muskogee August 30, 1910 $60,000 grant - 401 E. Broadway
Currently occupied by Ark of Faith

Oklahoma City October 27, 1899 $60,000 grant - 131 Dean A. McGee Avenue
Razed in 1951

Perry February 13, 1909 $10,000 grant - 302 North 7th Street

Ponca City August 29, 1908 $6,500 grant - Grand Avenue and Fifth Street
Razed in 1935

Sapulpa January 28, 1916 $25,000 grant - 27 W Dewey

Shawnee June 2, 1904 $15,500 grant - 331 North Broadway
Now the District Attorney's office

Tahlequah March 25, 1905 $10,000 grant - 300 S College Ave

Tulsa November 30, 1910 $55,000 grant - 3rd and Cheyenne
Razed in 1965

Wagoner December 7, 1911 $10,000 grant - 102 South State

Woodward December 3, 1915 $10,000 grant - 1207 8th Street

The Carnegie Library buildings had a "grand" entrance, usually with a set of stairs to the main doors. This building is no exception, and the green tile roof really sets it off. Note that the ends of the building have another special feature. I have no idea if those cement toppers were original on the building, but they look neat to me. There were hundreds of Carnegie Library buildings built in the United States. Do you have a Carnegie Library building near you?

1 comment:

  1. I don't know if you know this, but I used to be a librarian. When I was in school, we talked about Andrew Carnegie and his legacy a great deal--it was amazing how much knowledge was valued at that time as a way of lifting people up, and Carnegie knew it! Sad now that so many libraries are closing their doors or reducing their hours.