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Texas | Architecture

CARNEGIE LIBRARIES
in Texas

Of the 1689 Carnegie Libraries built, 32 were in Texas.  Of these, 13 remain with only 4 serving their original purpose. 

About Carnegie Libraries

  • The Carnegie Libraries by Bob Bowman ("All Things Historical" Column)
  • The Carnegie Library in Texas or Guilt is good by John Troesser
    Andrew Carnegie attributed his success to having had access to the library of Colonel James Anderson, a businessman in Allegheny, Pennsylvania who opened his library to factory boys in order to better themselves ...
  • The Carnegie Library and The Penny Postcard by John Troesser
    After courthouses and city halls, Carnegie Libraries were the most photographed buildings from this period ...
  • Carnegie Libraries Razed in Texas by John Troesser
    Illustrated with old postcards
  • Of the 1689 Carnegie Libraries built, 32 were in Texas.  Of these, 13 remain with only 4 serving their original purpose.  While around the country Carnegie Libraries are being used for everything from dance studios to law offices, in Texas all serve civic functions.
    City Date Built

    Carnegie Libraries

    In use today as:
    Abilene 1907 Razed 1958  
    Ballinger 1909   Library Feature
    Belton 1903   Museum
    Brownwood 1903 Razed 1965
    Bryan 1902   Library Feature
    Clarksville 1902 Destroyed by fire 1980
    Cleburne 1903   Museum
    Corsicana 1904 Razed 1967

     

    Dallas 1899 Razed 1954
    Dallas Branch ? Status Unknown
    El Paso 1902 Razed 1968  
    Fort Worth 1899 Razed 1937  
    Franklin 1913 Library
    Gainesville 1912 Playhouse
    Greenville 1903 Razed 1953  
    Houston 1899 Razed  
    Houston ? Branch razed in 1970s Replaced
    Jefferson 1906 Library Feature
    Memphis 1912 Razed Mid 1980s  
    Palestine 1912 Chamber of Commerce
    Pecos 1911 Razed early 1960s  
    Pittsburg 1898 Fire 1939  
    San Antonio 1900 Razed 1929* (?)  
    Sherman 1912   Museum
    Stamford 1908   Library
    Sulphur Springs 1909 Razed  
    Temple 1902 Fire 1918  
    Terrell 1903   Museum
    Tyler 1903 Museum
    Vernon 1915 Razed late 1970s  
    Waco 1902 Razed  
    Winnsboro 1908 Razed 1967  
    Source:
    Carnegie Libraries Across America : A Public Legacy, Theodore Jones, Prservation Press, 1997

    *
    This could be an error - The Hertzburg Circus museum now occupies a Greek Revival building with inscribed quotes from Emerson, Goethe et. al. It was obviously a library).

    Carnegie Libraries Forum

    Editor's note: Anna Thomas' mention of the Belton Carnegie Library piqued our interest and so we asked if she'd mind writing about her patronage. Her story follows:

    Dear Texas Escapes, As a child growing up in Belton, my fondest memory of going to the Carnegie Library was sitting in the rear room to the right. There lying on the table would be an old fashioned Stereo Photo Viewer. It was wooden and had a sort of telescopic lens that you could see through and at the far end was a postcard holder . Being hand held, you could insert the card and slide it near or far and it was very interesting . My favorite cards were about history and animals.

    I dont recall the name of the lady Librarian, but I do remember that she was very nice and always so helpful to me. I enjoyed looking through different books there, and yet I never did have a library card.

    ... I encourage other visitors to Texas Escapes to share their stories, as we all have a story just waiting to be told. Thank You, again, for allowing me to tell a small part of mine. - Anna Thomas (Anna Jane Davis) Belton, Texas, June 24, 2004

    Carnegie Library Links

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    Texas Architecture | Texas Towns | Texas Counties


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