Allegheny Library

Allegheny Library TIMELINE

March 1886, Andrew Carnegie writes to the Select and Common Councils of the City of Allegheny 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.)

May 1886 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.

In 1887 a design competition was held to award the commission to the best architect.

The council committee retains Smithmyer and Pelz of Washington, D. C. as architects. (In 1889, this firm completed the design for the Library of Congress.)

Carnegie Free Library officially opened to the public on February 12, 1890.

Carnegie Free Library dedicated on February 20, 1890 in the presence of Andrew Carnegie and President Benjamin Harrison.

In 1915, the Carnegie Free Library is enlarged at a cost of $150,000 contributed, again, by Andrew Carnegie.

In 1956, the Carnegie Free Library merged with the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh system to become the Allegheny Regional Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

In the summer of 1972 the Carnegie Regional Branch Library closed its doors for an extensive renovation and remodeling of its interior. Damianos and Pedone, Architects. Mosites Construction Company, General Contractors. The renovation took one year.


Mr. William M. Stevenson (1890-1904)

Mr. Edward E. Eggers (1904-1926)

Mr. George Seibel (1940)

“These Libraries, have improv’d the general Conversation of the Americans, made the common Tradesmen & Farmers as intelligent as most Gentlemen from other countries, and perhaps have contributed to some degree to the Stand so generally made throughout the Colonies in Defence of their Privileges.”     –Benjamin Franklin