Carnegie Library 1

Carnegie Library

…was completed in 1904 using a $50,000 gift to the local  “Library Association” from steel magnet Andrew Carnegie, for construction of a “free library”. Objection was made to the use of “Yankee charity”, but that reservation was soon overcome. Carnegie funded 2500 such public libraries, and 14 were in Alabama. The building was designed in Beaux Electric style, nationally popular in that era, by New York architects who had trained under the famous firm of McKim, Meade & White. The style combines Greek, Roman and Baroque elements in dramatic fashion.  The library came under City-County control in 1949, and the property passed to County ownership when the new library was built on High Street circa 1960. While the old building is a treasured landmark, its maintenance has proved to be an expensive burden for the County over the past two decades. The original copper roof and wood window and door casings lasted for most of a century, but finally had to be replaced. The structure currently houses the County Appraisal Offices.

Old Carnegie

A view of the Carnegie taken in 1906, when the building was only two years old.

-Charles Humphries

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