History Timeline: Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny /
Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, Allegheny Regional Branch

> 1886 March - Andrew Carnegie writes to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Allegheny, Pennsylvania offering to erect a free public library and music hall in the City of Allegheny to cost not less than $250,000. This amount was increased to $300,000 by the time of construction.

> 1886 May - The Select and Common Councils of the City of Allegheny offered the Third Ward Square for the site of the new library. Councils also agreed to appropriate $15,000 annually for the maintenance and operation of the facility.

Prominent Allegheny gentlemen composed the building commission: Henry Phipps, Jr., Chairman; John Walker, Vice Chairman; James B. Scott, Chairman of the Building Committee; Richard C. Gray; Hugh Fleming; Adam Ammon; Arthur Kennedy, Secretary; Thomas A. Park; and George W. Snaman.

The Carnegie Free Library is a purely municipal institution with the management entrusted to a city joint-council committee.

> 1887 - A design competition was held to award the commission to the best architect. The council committee retains Smithmyer and Pelz of Washington DC as architects. In 1889, this firm also completed the design for the Library of Congress.

> 1890 February 12 - Carnegie Free Library offiically opened to the public.

> 1890 February 20 - Carnegie Free Library dedicated in the presence of Andrew Carnegie and U.S. President Benjamin Harrison. Carnegie Hall, adjoining the Library, is the world's first Carnegie Hall; New York City's Carnegie Hall opens a year later.

> 1904 - Andrew Carnegie commissioned Daniel Chester French to sculpt a memorial to Andrew Carnegie's mentor, Col. James Anderson who had opened Western Pennsylvania's first public library, the Anderson Library Institute, in the 1850s. The Anderson Memorial, or "Labor," was erected adjoining the Library at the corner of East Ohio and Federal Streets. This Memorial was dismantled in the 1960s with the construction of Allegheny Center and the closing of the streets within Allegheny Center. For many years, the two sculptures ("The Reading Blacksmith" and the bust of Col. Anderson) sat on the first floor of the renovated Allegheny Regional Branch Library, under the new spiral staircase which went up the clocktower. In 1988, at the urging of Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Life Trustee Ann P. Wardrop, the Anderson Memorial was completely reconstructed across from the main library entrance of the Allegheny Regional Branch, on the east lawn of Pittsburgh's original Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science. For several years, flood lights from the top of the Library clocktower lit the Anderson Memorial at night.

> 1907 - City of Allegheny is absorbed into the City of Pittsburgh. Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny remains independent of the much larger Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh until 1956; hence, Pittsburgh has two public library systems (as a Woods Run Branch is eventually added to the Carnegie Free Library of Allegheny).

> 1915 - The Carnegie Free Library is enlarged at a cost of $150,000, contributed again by Andrew Carnegie.

> 1939 October 24 - Across Federal Street from the Carnegie Free Library, The Buhl Planetarium and Institute of Popular Science is dedicated as America's fifth major planetarium. Although the new institution includes a "Boiler Room," this room does not include boilers. The boilers in the Carnegie Free Library provide steam heat to Buhl Planetarium. The new institution includes an 800-volume Science Library, smaller than similar institutions due to Buhl Planetarium's close proximity to the Carnegie Free Library.

> 1956 October 19 - The Carnegie Free Library merged with The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. From then on, the Carnegie Free Library is known as the Allegheny Regional Branch, Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

> 1972 - Allegheny Regional Branch Library building is closed for an extensive renovation and remodeling of its interior. With the exception of balcony railings (and possibly the fireplace, which is hidden behind a new wall), original interior is gutted and replaced with "modern" interior and furnishings. Damianos and Pedone was the Architect and Mosites Construction Company was tne General Contractor. See construction blueprints. The construction took one year. During that time, a smaller version of the Allegheny Regional Branch Library operated on the Terrace Level of the nearby Allegheny Center shopping mall.

> 2006 April 7 - Historic Carnegie Free Library Clocktower struck by lightning.

(Portions of this Timeline from document published by the Allegheny City Society.)

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