Sunday, December 30, 2012

America's First Carnegie Libraries

In 1886 Allegheny, PA was the recipient of the first grant from Andrew Carnegie for a public library building in the United States. Carnegie's birthplace, Dunfermline, Scotland, was the recipient of his first grant for a public library in the world in 1881. Carnegie eventually gave grants for the erection of 1679 public library buildings in 1412 communities in the U.S.. Carnegie's grant to Allegheny totaled $481,012 and was for a cultural complex that included a public library and a music hall. The library opened in 1890 and was dedicated by President Benjamin Harris. The Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny later became a branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. In 2006, while still serving as a library, the building was struck by lightning. It never reopened as a library. It was replaced with a new building at another location in 2009. The Carnegie building is now home of the New Hazlett Theater. It should be noted that Braddock, PA can also lay claim to being the home of the first U.S. Carnegie library. It received its Carnegie grant after Allegheny but its building was dedicated in 1889, a year before the Allegheny building. The Braddock Carnegie Library is still operational. The postcard above showing the Allegheny Carnegie is from my collection and was mailed on October 26, 1906. The stereoview showing the Allegheny Carnegie below is also from my collection. See other stereoviews in my collection. The last postcard image shows the Carnegie Library in Braddock, PA.

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