Washington DC Central Library

Historical Society of Washington DC headquarters, Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW, Washington, DC

Washington DC Central Library, Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW, Washington, DC

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Washington DC Central Library

The Washington DC Central Library was the 11th of the public or university libraries built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie. In all, Carnegie funded the construction of over 2,000 libraries starting with the first in his birthplace of Dunfermline, Scotland in 1880. The first library commissioned in the United States was built in his adopted hometown of Allegheny, Pennsylvania six years later. This was only the second public library to open in the United States.

The Washington DC Central Library was commissioned in 1899. It was dedicated in January 1903 at a ceremony attended by both Andrew Carnegie and President Theodore Roosevelt.

Historical Society of Washington DC headquarters, Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW, Washington, DC

Washington DC Central Library, Carnegie Library, 801 K Street NW, Washington, DC

– Click on the image to enlarge or purchase –

The Beaux-Arts style building was designed by the New York firm of Ackerman & Ross. Situated in Mount Vernon Square on New York Avenue, it has an imposing entrance befitting the source of learning within its walls. Unfortunately, the rear of the building does not have anything like the aesthetic qualities of the front, being of much more functional appearance. This is a shame as it is the rear that most visitors to the city see today as this is the part of the building which faces the entrance to the new Convention Center.

The library remained here for almost 70 years before overcrowding necessitated a move to a larger modern structure. The Central Library of Washington DC is now housed in the 400,000 square foot glass and steel Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library.

The original building lay empty for about a decade until it was donated to the University of the District of Columbia. Following a necessary renovation it is now used by the Historical Society of Washington DC.

Click here to learn more about Washington DC’s diverse architecture

Summary
Washington DC Central Library
Article Name
Washington DC Central Library
Description
The Washington DC Central Library was the 11th of the public or university libraries built with money donated by Andrew Carnegie.
Author
Publisher Name
Mark Summerfield
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