Tag: Libraries

  • Carnegie Library, Lawrenceville Branch

    Lawrenceville branch library

    This fine little Renaissance palace, built in 1896, was the first of Carnegie’s branch libraries, and thus arguably the vanguard of the whole idea of branch libraries. It was also the first public library with open stacks, where patrons would just walk to the shelf and pick up the book by themselves. In other libraries—including much of the main Carnegie in Oakland until a few years ago—the patron would ask for the book at the desk, and a librarian would run back to the mysterious stacks and fetch it.

    Like all the original libraries in the Carnegie system, this was designed by Alden & Harlow.

    Carnegie Library Lawrenceville
  • Carnegie Library, Homewood

    Carnegie Library Homewood

    This is the neighborhood library every neighborhood dreams of. It was designed by Alden & Harlow (according to Wikipedia, Howard K. Jones, who worked for the firm, may have been principally responsible for this library), and it is the most palatial of their branch libraries in the city. Most of the others are classical, but this is institutional Gothic. Restored to its original splendor, it is kept immaculately beautiful, and it seems to be busy. Old Pa Pitt promised the librarian he would not capture any patrons in the interior shots—which necessitated some patience, because people would keep walking in front of the woodwork.

    Exterior
    Entrance
    Windows

    The rear windows look out on the side of Holy Rosary Church.

    Children’s room
    War memorial

    A stunningly beautiful Great War memorial for the neighborhood is divided in two halves flanking the entrance.

    War memorial
    Ornament

    An ornament at the peak of the Hamilton Avenue façade.

  • Old Hazelwood Branch Library

    Old Hazelwood library

    Andrew Carnegie peppered the city with neighborhood libraries designed by his favorite architects, Alden & Harlow. They’re all little gems. This one has been abandoned for years, since a new library was built in the mostly empty business district of Hazelwood on Second Avenue. (That block of Second Avenue now seems to be the center of the Hazelwood neighborhood revival.) It is still in good shape, and—unlike an abandoned church or synagogue—it would be a relatively easy building to adapt to new uses.

  • Free to the People for 125 Years

  • Carnegie Library, South Side Branch

    Carnegie Library, South Side Branch

    One of Alden and Harlow’s distinguished designs for small libraries, this one has changed very little externally since it opened.

  • Carnegie Library, South Side Branch

    Alden and Harlow, Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architects, designed this branch library, as they did many others. This one opened in 1909.

  • Carnegie Library, South Side Branch

    Another branch library by Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architectural firm, Alden & Harlow, who also gave us (as Longfellow, Alden & Harlow) the main Carnegie Institute building in Oakland.

    Camera: Canon PowerShot A590 IS (hacked).
  • Old Hazelwood Branch of the Carnegie Library

    The original Hazelwood Branch, built in 1890, was abandoned in 2004 in favor of a larger building on Second Avenue. Since then this fine building has been vacant, as far as Father Pitt knows. It is just a short stroll up Monongahela Street from the John Woods House, and an enthusiastic preservationist might be able to get a good deal on both of them at once.

    Before he even went looking for the architects, Father Pitt was fairly sure that they must have been Alden & Harlow, Andrew Carnegie’s favorite architectural firm and the architects of numerous other Carnegie libraries, including the big one in Oakland. Old Pa Pitt’s instinct was correct. This is a typically tasteful and substantial Alden & Harlow design. Their branch libraries always feel welcoming: they are proud ornaments to their neighborhoods, but never overwhelmingly ostentatious. They seem to embody Andrew Carnegie’s ideal that no workman, however humble, should ever feel that the neighborhood library is too good a place for the likes of him.

  • Carnegie Library, Oakmont

    This charming building from 1900 was tastefully expanded in 2006. The new section is obviously of our century, but so well harmonized with the old that it seems an organic growth.