Carnegie Libraries in Illinois,
N - R

Paris, IL street scene with library.

Part of the Library Postcards: Civic Pride in a Lost America web site.
Contains Olney to Rushville, except for Rockford.
Illinois Carnegie libraries from utterly alphabetically impaired localities comprise the next page, S - Z, Savannah - Winchester.

Robinson, IL Library in upper right


Olney, IL Carnegie building

1903 grant.

Decorative glass above the front door helps distinguish this rather mundane library building. Despite its bland appearance, it did make the Illinois Historic Preservation list.

This is a 'Competition Proof' Weixelbaum card, published in Lima, Ohio. I don't know about the veracity of the claim, but it sure beats the monochrome card I had posted before.


Onarga, IL Carnegie building

Confirmed as a 1907 Carnegie building by Bial and Bial.
I had to rely on a church website to learn that this building is still in use. I did find out from the library's site that the library was formed in 1858 (impressive!) and that the district encompasses Ridgeland Township (Iroquois Co.).

This is a Real Photo card, with the helpful comment written on the back, 'Onarga in 1910.'


Oregon, IL Carnegie building

Still in use.

Oh, so naughty! This highly unusual design was sneaked past James Bertram, I fear. It has an artist's gallery on the second floor, permanently dating from 1918. This is a hard building to categorize with respect to its architecture, a product of Pond & Pond architects of Chicago. I do not see the Classical Revival touches some do: although it has a type of pediment over the doorway, it is placed asymmetrically. Interior photos I have seen are somewhat Arts and Crafts movement in nature, which would make sense, given Oregon's connection with the Eagle's Nest Art Colony.

The card is a C.R. Childs 'Real Photograph.'


Pana, IL Carnegie library Both cards are from Curt Teich. Pana, IL Carnegie library
Pana, IL Carnegie library (L, below) This photo postcard was made several years after the Library was built. Its sharp focus shows the accumulation of dirt in the carvings around the entrance.
Fred Benke, photographer, had an office in a former creamery. According to Frakes, this building was sold in the 1980s. Although Benke was prolific, not much is known about this Salem resident.

1911 grant. Dedicated in 1913.
Charming take on the Carnegie style.
Now known as the Carnegie-Schuyler Library, and still in use.


Paris, IL library Paris, IL library Paris, IL Carnegie library Paris, IL Carnegie library
Raphael Tuck & Sons' card
with entire back. Never mailed.
C.U. Williams 'Photoette.' Curt Teich card, postmarked 1955. Floyd Mitchell card.

This library is still officially named 'Paris Carnegie Public Library,' according to its website. It was established in 1904 with the help of an $18,000 grant from Andrew Carnegie. In 1992, it required an addition to properly serve the community.


Paxton, IL Carnegie library (L) E.C. Kropp card.
(R) Unattributed photo card.
Paxton, IL Carnegie library
Paxton, IL Carnegie library (L, below) L.L. Cook generally wins any postcard comparison. Some of the details include a postal letterbox, parking meters, and a multilevel house at far right.
(R, below) Obliterated stamp on reverse seems to date from 1980. Its original price was 5¢.
Paxton, IL Carnegie library

Built in 1903, Paxton Carnegie Library is still in use, albeit in a gently remodeled state. A recent photo is on their blog, and their history reveals that the building was designed by a local architect, Paul O. Moratz, of Bloomington.

Raymond Bial and Linda LaPuma Bial chose this library to feature on the cover of their University of Illinois Press book, The Carnegie Library in Illinois. To me, it'd come down to this, or to Sycamore (also a Moratz design).


Pekin, IL Carnegie library 1903 - 1974
I can only describe this as 'Carnegie goes to the Wadhams gasoline station.'
Although I know Wadhams never reached central Illinois, I can't say the same about Carnegie. The tile roof had an Asian feel, which is appropriate for the city. The dome had small windows, which was an unusual touch. Dentil trim is a common feature on Carnegie buildings, but not on every edge! I'm surprised it wasn't added to the steps.
Pekin, IL Carnegie library


The main library's funding came from different sources, and is featured on a different page.

Lincoln Branch

Lincoln Branch of the Peoria Public Library (L) Both of these cards are local products, but this card bears the CCCC trademark, as well as that of C.E. Wheelock and Company.
(R) The postcard is a semi-local product, published by C.E. Wheelock and Company, but not printed in Germany, as so many Wheelock cards were. It was mailed in August, 1924.
Lincoln Branch of the Peoria Public Library

Late 1909 grant.

Head straight south about 1.5 miles from the Bradley University campus, and you'll find the only Peoria branch library funded by Mr. Carnegie. At one point it was considered endangered (just look how small it is!), but was recently renovated.


Peru, IL Carnegie library

Built in 1910: replaced some time after 1983.

I almost prefer the reverse of this card, mailed in 1944 with the message:

Dear Richard,
Do you know what there is in this building?
No, not monkeys.


Petersburg, IL Carnegie library

In the heart of the Land of Lincoln.

Late 1906 Carnegie grant.

It's still in use, according to the city's web page, and appears newer than its 103+ years.

The E.C. Kropp card dates from early in the library's history, perhaps 1907 or 1908.


Pittsfield, IL Carnegie library Pittsfield, IL Carnegie library Pittsfield, IL Carnegie library Pittsfield, IL Carnegie library
Unknown publisher. Anonymous photo postcard. L.L. Cook postcard. Unattributed photo postcard: not L.L. Cook.

Late 1905 Carnegie grant, still in use since 1907.

Nearly full history (lacking its architect of record) on the Library's new website. It's a beautiful library building that's beginning to show a little age.


Plano, IL Carnegie library (L) This photo postcard was hard to locate. Its attribution is to an R.E. Lincoln, aka 'Ed,' dating before his 1935 death. (Source no longer online.) The typed caption, running vertically on the right side, is unusual and the signature is closer to the top border.
(R) This card was produced by C.U. Williams, and is in much better condition than other, similar cards. It may have been mailed in an envelope to Canada.

Plano, IL Carnegie library

Late 1904 grant. Still in use, but dwarfed by a huge addition.


Polo, IL Carnegie library Polo, IL Carnegie library Polo, IL Carnegie library

Another Patton and Miller Carnegie Library, built between 1903 and 1904, and still in use. (Polo is not a large town.)
Not evident from the first Real Photo card, but seen on the library's website, is its red brick construction. The (L) postcard illustrates the entrance quite well, however.
The center card is quite ethereal and was mailed to collector Lotta Simpson of Albany, Illinois.
The photograph on the third card is sharper, and newer, but leaves obscure the roofline over the entrance.

Ridge Farm (Elwood Twp.)

Ridge Farm, IL Carnegie library

1909 grant. Remarkably, the smallest Carnegie building in Illinois is still in use.

It took 11 years to find this postcard.


Robinson, IL Carnegie library (L) RPPC mailed in 1907.
(R) Card by N.E. Paper and Stationery of Ayer, MA. Mailed in 1909.
Robinson, IL Carnegie library
Robinson, IL Carnegie library (L, below) Another multiview post card features the Carnegie Library in the forefront. It looks like the blue skies were hand tinted.

1904 grant. Opened 1906. Replaced 1976. Fate unknown.

The library's history page has some amusing sections, as does the Crawford County GenWeb.
1915 - The library is catalogued by Miss Fanny Hill.
1920 - The library is fumigated because of smallpox.
One of the communities of the district is Oblong.

Rochelle (Flagg Twp. Library)

Rochelle, IL Carnegie library Raymond Bial's photography does a much better job capturing the details beneath the eaves than did the left hand card. So, of course, purchasing another card (right) became necessary. The Carnegie Library in Illinois informs us that Flagg Township Library is a Carnegie Library designed by Claude and Starck of Madison, WI. This is a lovely Prairie- style building included on the National Register of Historic Places (1973).
Every other piece of info on the place is available on the Internet, however. except this text:
The Flagg Township Library of Rochelle, Illinois, a Carnegie Library, was built in 1912. The building was designed by Louis Sullivan of the firm of Claude and Stark and was placed on the National Registry of Historical Places in 1973. The library houses over 26,000 volumes and is open 56 hours a week.
--House of Photography, 628 N. Lincoln Hiway, Rochelle, IL 61068
Rochelle, IL Carnegie library
Rochelle, IL Carnegie library Now for something completely different.
(L) This linen finish card was produced by MWM (Mid-West Map Company) of Aurora, MO. Notice that they removed the building in the left background (it's still standing) and added a flagpole. The roofline also looks steeper.
However, they made pretty good maps.
(R) Prosaic Wm. G. Hoffman card, probably printed by Curt Teich, made at the beginning of the 'white border' era.
Rochelle, IL Carnegie library


Rushville, IL Carnegie library (L) L.L. Cook photo postcard.
(R)This looks like an RPPC, but it's not. It's a product of S.R. McQuown of Monmouth.
Rushville, IL Carnegie library

1906 grant.

The still-functioning Rushville library, with a very functional website, still resides in its Carnegie building. Thanks to you who filled me in on this detail.

Illinois Carnegie Libraries Listed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency

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

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 - 2015 Judy Aulik
Update: 31 January 2015.
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