Pennsylvania's Carnegie Libraries

As expected, Andrew Carnegie treated his adopted state to bigger grants and grander buildings. What most consider to be the flagship (mother ship?) Carnegie building is the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.


See Carnegie Libraries of Pittsburgh.

 Beaver Falls

(L) Along with the Carnegie building at right, a tailor and a humongous post office are shown on this WWI era card. The white border came into style then to save ink.
(R) Plastichrome Colourpicture card is quite recent for a classic library card.

1899 grant: still in use.

 Braddock Borough

First Carnegie library in the United States (1888).

According to Wikipedia, William Halsey Wood was the original architect; but Longfellow, Alden & Harlow built the 1893 addition that contained a swimming pool, indoor basketball court, and music hall--complete with pipe organ.

Bobinski dates the grant to 1900 for some odd reason. However, the library page (on Blogspot, no less) links to 1893 photos.

(L) Five women and two men stand on the steps of the library. To the left is The Famous, Braddock's Big Store.
(R) Bye-bye, phone pole. The same group stands on the steps, but now a quartet of men stand when the pole stood. Other people, as well as two cars, magically appear.


Information from

1900 grant: replaced in 1991. Sold in 1993 to become a successful restaurant.

H.H. Hamm card, probably printed by Curt Teich, was mailed in 1920.


Now known as the Andrew Carnegie Free Library & Music Hall.
Or, more cheekily, the Carnegie Carnegie.

Built in 1899: designed by architects Stuthers and Hannah. It is considered to be Italianate in style. The Music Hall has a separate entrance than the Library.

This is believed to be a Curt Teich card. If so, it dates from 1910.


1899 grant: still in use.
The statue is of Col. William Crawford, early settler who was burnt at the stake.


Late 1916 grant. Dedicated in 1917, per the card reverse. I have never seen a contemporaneous postcard.

The small sign which mentions Civil Defense dates this card to the Cold War era.


1904 - 1968

OK, I'm not sure that this can be so.
A swimming pool? Shower baths? Bowling alleys?
Evidently Carnegie works employees, for a small fee, had access to all these things. City residents used the library portion.

I hope the librarians could bowl during their lunch break. That would be an awesome stress reduction perk.


1901 grant. Still in use in 2013, with an addition plus 3 branches.

Interesting history on the library's website. A city website revealed that Easton received two grants (1902, probably the construction date; and 1913). It also has a picture of an earlier library building.

(L) Rotograph card, mailed in 1908.
(R) The card has a linen-finish, and appears to be quite common.


1903 grant. Still in use.
The Building looks like a smaller version of the Joliet, Illinois Carnegie building.

What a beautiful ca. 1907 card! I don't know if cherries have any connection with the city, but the card was produced for Schollenberger's Confectionery of Hamburg.

 Homestead (Munhall)

According to the card:
First Library Andrew Carnegie donated.
Now used as an office of the Carnegie Steel Works,
Homestead, Pa.
Litho-chrome brand card, mailed in 1908. Souvenir brand postcard.

1896 grant. Built in 1898. Still in use. No evidence for the use as an office.

This is not just a library: it's also an athletic club and a music hall. Wow. I suspect this was one of those facilities meant to 'improve' the lives of Carnegie's employees. As if a steelworker needed--or had time--to work out.

 Johnstown (Cambria Public Library)

According to the Waymarking web site, this is the very first Carnegie library, built in 1889 to replace the library building lost in the Johnstown Flood.

Unusual French Gothic structure that was replaced in the early '70s and reopened as the Johnstown Flood Museum in 1973. Why it had the two entrances, I have no clue.

(L) 1911 card in the 'blue sky' style.
(R) Tinted card mailed in 1924. Note the policeman in the street.


1911 grant: still in use. Very pretty web site.
This Fairbanks postcard leaves a lot to be desired. Somehow its composition makes the building look like a diner.


1899 grant: built 1902. Still in use.

(L) Card mailed in 1907. The picture must date from significantly earlier, as there is no landscaping at all.
(R) Postmarked 1943. In inimitable Curt Teich style, an American flag has been added to the right of the building. How can I tell? I can see the blue sky through its stars! Sent from a student to her teaching nun in S. Chicago. What more innocuous topic could one choose?

 Oil City

1900 grant. The date on the carving above the false entrance is 1902.
Modernized 1959.
According to the library's web site, the four lions on the library's corners symbolize power. According to the cards, 'What lions?'

(R) The Rotograph German postcard was mailed in 1906.

(L) Tichnor Quality View, mailed in 1934 to collector Phoebe F. Hayes.
(R) A linen finish Tichnor Quality View.

The Tichnor Brothers' postcard proofs reside in the Boston Public Library collection.


This city alone received 25 Carnegie grants. See the other new page for the main building.

13th and Walnut

This isn't the same library as the West Walnut Branch that was recently renovated.

I believe, using Google maps street view, that this building is now in use as the Philadelphia Club.


1903 grant. Library still in use as the Frankford Branch of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

(L) Caption:
Standard Post Card & Nov. Co. 4 No. 5th St., Phila. Mltpl. abbrev.
(R) Attractive card.


Built in 1907. Replaced by the Northwest Regional Library in 1978. Converted to the Center in the (Vernon) Park, 1986. Serves as an activity center for older people.

(L) Souvenir brand postcard.
(R) Card caption: The Free Library of Philadelphia
Germantown Branch, Vernon Park


1901 grant: still in use, with a 1987 addition.


Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh is on a new page.


Built in 1921 after a 1914 Carnegie grant.


Still in use. This library is supplemented by bookmobile service.

© 2007 - 2014 Judy Aulik
Updated 14 August 2014.