Carnegie Libraries in Illinois

Harvey's Carnegie Library in lower left corner

H - M

Illinois communities tended to know a good thing when they saw it: hence, many accepted Carnegie funding. The 105 state Carnegie library count does not include college libraries.

As I approach finding cards of all the cities, I have had to divide this page again, alphabetically.

Some of Illinois' poorest communities lie in this alphabetical sector, yet still found funds to replace their Carnegie buildings as they aged.
Libraries in towns beginning with N - R or S - Z have their own page.

Now, Rockford has its own page!

 Harrisburg (Mitchell-Carnegie Library)

Mitchell-Carnegie Library Mitchell-Carnegie Library

Harrisburg nearly flooded off the map in 1937, and its Carnegie building served as a hospital during its first crisis.
In 1968, an earthquake threatened the remainder.
Dedicated in 1909, replaced 2000. Status unknown (May 2010).

(L) RPPC, clear enough to read 'Mitchell Carnegie 19 Public Library 09' on the original.
(R) C.U. Williams 'Photoette' card that looks as if the Bloomington publisher should have discarded the plate a few hundred strikes earlier. Did you notice that one of the windows in front was open?


Harvey, IL Carnegie Library 1906 - 1971
Very interesting Carnegie building with traces of Romanesque architecture. And, it had ornaments. Big, honking, ornaments. Fall-off-the-roof-and-concuss-you ornaments. Architect Paul O. Moratz, of Bloomington, did not seem prone to such excess on his other buildings (Sycamore, Greenville, and Paxton).
Harvey, IL Carnegie Library
Honestly, it surprised me that Harvey was able to build a newer library. It's not a city with wealthy residents, but maybe the '70s were kinder to the community. It's nice to see Harvey had its priorities straight.
The newest of these cards was sent in 1944: the lefthand card was never mailed.
The righthand card's postmark could be 1911, 1914, or 1917; all a little belated for an unevenly divided back post card.
Harvey, IL Carnegie Library
(L, vertical) Early C.R. Childs card.
(R, top) Locally produced, by the Homewood Photo Service.
(R, center) Curt Teich card.
(R, below) Curt Teich 'Photochrom,' reprinted for the Am. 5 & 10 cent Stores Co.
Harvey, IL Carnegie Library


Havana, IL Carnegie library Havana, IL Carnegie library Havana, IL Carnegie library

Opened 1902; addition 1937; renovated in the 1990s.
One of the libraries on the Illinois Historical Preservation list.
The library's web site has an excellent history page.

(L) This ZIM card was a hard postcard to locate, and isn't in the best condition. I have no idea what architectural style this building is, but it's quite attractive.
(C) Mason County Democrat card, from a DePue photo. Side view of the building.
(R) Curt Teich card, mailed in 1938.

 Highland Park

Highland Park, IL Carnegie library

Highland Park is one of the posher North Shore Chicago suburbs, showing that it wasn't always the neediest communities that got the Carnegie grants.

It's a handsome Carnegie building, begun in 1905, and replaced in 1931--one of the quickest cases of obsolescence.

Visit the public library's web site for more details.


Hillsboro, IL Carnegie library Hillsboro, IL Carnegie library

1903 grant.
I think that this Montgomery County library is still in use, judging from the picture on its single screen web site. It looks as if only the portico was enlarged.

(L) The scan makes it look like a real photo postcard, but it's not.

(R) Actually, I like this early Curt Teich 'C.T. American Art Blue-Sky' card I found a year or so later even more.


Hoopeston, IL Carnegie library Hoopeston, IL Carnegie library Hoopeston, IL Carnegie library

1903 Carnegie grant. Built in 1905, with a 1975 addition, it's still in use.

(L) Yet another Wayne Paper card with the Clear View signature aluminum border.
(C) Early souvenir postcard. Notice the ghost children in the foreground, and the man outstanding in his field.
(R) On this card you almost can read the notice on the front door. Leaning against the rightmost pillar is a notice for Episcopal Church services. Hmm.


Jacksonville, IL Carnegie library Jacksonville, IL Carnegie library

(L) Hand-colored card with delicate, believable tints. This is another case where it seems as if the photo was taken before the library was ready for patrons. The right wing looks empty.
Card was mailed in 1907, a very early divided-back card.
(R) Curt Teich card with its photograph taken some time later. Never mailed.

The building resulted from a 1901 grant, and is still in use, with one addition.


Jerseyville, IL Carnegie library

1902 grant.
Replaced: fate unknown.

C.T. American Art Black and White brand postcard, a less common Curt Teich marque.


Joliet, IL Carnegie library Joliet, IL Carnegie library

On the left is a handcolored card mailed in 1911. The right-hand card is one of the earliest linen finish (Curt Teich) cards in my collection,
I would bet.

This building still in use as the Main Branch. Except for casino money, Joliet is chronically short of cash as its industrial base has dwindled.

Daniel Burnham designed this semi-Gothic, semi-Romanesque library in 1903.


Kewanee, IL Carnegie Library Kewanee, IL Carnegie Library

Built in 1906 - 1908 by Patton & Miller. Considering that it was funded partially from a 1901 Carnegie grant, the delay is rather remarkable.

The building was renovated in 2000 and is still in use.

The library's updated web site has a nice history page, with a pretty picture of the library's stained glass window.

Kewanee, IL Carnegie Library Kewanee, IL Carnegie Library

(L) Attractive early Curt Teich card, with an unevenly divided back and postmarked 1908. A rare (for a manufacturer of such repute) spelling error calls the town 'Kewannee.' Probably too late for a refund.
(R) Street view, also capturing the Congregational Church. Notice the horses and wagons by the church.


LaGrange, IL Carnegie library LaGrange, IL Carnegie library

1904 - 1969

(L) Quality control at Curt Teich was a little off on the day this card was made. Everything is slightly askew and the tree on the left extends into the border. But the mad awning striper had her day in the sun, by golly. The arched awning has its red and white stripes.

(R) Ordinary monochrome much enlivened by the message:
They took pattern from Freeport. Hello Josie.

Visit the public library's web site for the history of this lovely building (and yet another postcard).

 La Harpe

La Harpe, IL Carnegie library

Completed in 1906 and still in use.
The library's web site is very simple. A three person library doesn't really need to go to extremes, does it?

Photographer is L.W. Butler, but the publisher of the rather strange card is unknown.


LaSalle, IL Carnegie library LaSalle, IL Carnegie library

1907 Carnegie building, still in use. Victor Matteson was its architect.

Check out the library's Then and Now site.


Lewistown, IL Carnegie library Lewistown, IL Carnegie library

A 1906 Moratz building. I think Paul was growing bored with domes by this point.
(L) Beautiful German card, imported and published by J.R. Grafton of Lewistown. Unevenly divided back.
(R) Monochrome card by Curt Teich, mailed 1940.

The library is developing a web site, bit by bit. I hope they put in its history!


Lincoln's Carnegie library, Lincoln, IL Lincoln's Carnegie library, Lincoln, IL

(L) Monochrome card by Curt Teich. Scan slightly retouched.
(R) Even though this card dates from 1907, it carries a union 'bug,' for the Allied Printing Trades Council (Chicago). It was mailed in 1909 to the Long Beach Public Library.

Typical Carnegie Library.

According to the Bials, the grant came in 1901. The library, which seems small for the city, was renovated in the 1970s.


Litchfield, IL Carnegie building Litchfield, IL Carnegie building

1904 Carnegie grant. Paul O. Moratz installed an iffy concert hall on the second floor. If Andrew Carnegie gave the thumbs up to a bowling alley in a Pennsylvania library, why would the concert hall have been so questionable?

Lefthand card postmarked 1910, and produced by the Art Mfg. Co. of Amelia, Ohio. This is one of the nicer hand coloring jobs in my collection.

An extra attraction to Litchfield is that it's a Route 66 town. That and a Carnegie building: what more can you want?


Macomb, IL Carnegie building

Carnegie building occupied since 1904. Instead of enlarging it, a Children's Library was built in 1980. They are connected via a hallway and two rooms. That's a sensitive compromise.

The postcard was mailed in 1910. I can't make out the publisher's name, but it was made in Germany. Doesn't the library's cupola look like a pickelhauber?


Marion, IL Carnegie building

The Marion Carnegie Library site used to show the sensitively renovated building, but I suppose it's rather passé by now.

Built 1915; opened February 29, 1916; expanded 1997.

The postcard: E.C. Kropp out of Milwaukee.


Marseilles, IL Carnegie building Marseilles, IL Carnegie building

1904 grant: tan brick building, expanded in 1938, after these cards were made.

   (L) C.R. Childs card mailed in 1914.
   (R) Early monochrome Curt Teich 'C.T. Photo-platin' postcard.
Scan converted to black and white, since the card is a rather peculiar green.
No data available as to whether the building is still in use: the library's web page consists of less than one screen!

Marseilles, IL Carnegie building Marseilles, IL Carnegie building

Those who grew up in the Chicago area may remember Marseilles as the former source of weather radar.

(L) L.L. Cook photo postcard. The fender of a pre-WW II car appears in the lower left corner.
(R) Very early Curt Teich card, in poor condition, postmarked 1907.


Mattoon, IL Carnegie building Mattoon, IL Carnegie building

<--Before the Mattoon Gasser
                      After the Mattoon Gasser-->

(L) Early divided back, published by the Mattoon News Co. Publishers.
(R) C.T. American Art card, mailed 1954.

Mattoon, IL Carnegie building

No historical info to be found on the library site, but the Bials state that the building was dedicated in 1903. The Art Nouveau card on the left might even have been issued prior to opening. They also comment that this library lacks a full basement. Perhaps if it had had one, it might have needed a smaller footprint for its functions.


Maywood, IL Carnegie Library Maywood, IL Carnegie Library

(L) The library is the lefthand building, stemming from a 1904 grant. The city hall, on the right, has been replaced by the library annex. It's a huge building for the size of the Chicago suburb today.

(R) 1907 Curt Teich card, mailed 20 years later.


Mendota, IL Carnegie Library Mendota, IL Carnegie Library

These cards feature a classic Carnegie library built in 1904.
According to the city's website, it is still in use-- similar to Antigo, Wisconsin's outdated building--as the Hume-Carnegie Museum.

(L) Dates from ca. 1937.
(R) Mailed in 1919.


Milford, IL Carnegie Library

Grant accepted 1905. This postcard, sent 1948, must not have been a best seller. Milford is not a flashy tourist destination in the best of times.


Moline, IL Carnegie Library Moline, IL Carnegie Library Moline, IL Carnegie Library
Moline, IL Carnegie Library

1901 grant. Replaced.

At last I have the straight scoop on Moline's public library. Of course, it was just before the Carnegie building was replaced. And now, alas, their Sunday hours have been cut.
Please visit the Moline Public Library site, .pdf file linked above for its history, to read the entire story.

Built 1904, renovated due to advanced deterioration 1964, funded for new building 2004.
A pleasing symmetry, isn't it?

 Mt. Carmel

Mt. Carmel, IL Carnegie library

1911 Carnegie Library condemned in the 1960s and replaced in 1970. E.C. Kropp post card.

 Mt. Carroll

Mt. Carroll, IL Carnegie library Mt. Carroll, IL Carnegie library

1905 grant.
Andrew Carnegie, discussing this building:

It is one of the few libraries I have given in which there was no graft in building.

Both the above, and the fact Mt. Carroll built its library before its city hall, make sense when considering this was the original home of Shimer College. Originally a seminary (and with an interesting campus remnant), now featuring the rare 'Great Books' curriculum, it has moved to Chicago.

Way prettier in reality than on these monochrome cards.

 Mt. Vernon (C.E. Brehm Memorial Library)

Mt. Vernon, IL Carnegie library Mt. Vernon, IL Carnegie library Mt. Vernon, IL Carnegie library
From R.L. Webb's Book Store. Postmarked 1923. Linen finish.

Center and right cards are from the C.T. 'American Art' series. The building was completed in 1905, and is still in use after a century plus. An excellent history of the building and of the C.E. Brehm Memorial Public Library District is given on the district's website.

 Illinois Carnegie Libraries Listed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

At this point, the only way to see the non-linked libraries is to visit the pertinent IHPA site.


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That obligatory disclaimer

All text is under copyright by the author. Cards are presented for scholarly study: most are significantly older than 1928. You may link, and even deep-link to its pages, but you may not claim any part as your own nor link to individual images.

©2003 - 2012 Judy Aulik

Carnegie libraries divided on 30 January 2007.
Trisected on 24 April 2008.
Updated on 22 February 2012.
Return to the home page, Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America.
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