Wednesday, February 23, 2011
Right across the street from the park we've been looking at is Braddock's branch of the Carnegie Library. Built in 1888, the library was the first of more than a thousand libraries that Andrew Carnegie had built in the United States. Selecting Braddock for his first library was part of Carnegie's plan to benefit the working poor, beginning with the employees of his steel works just a few blocks away. Though Carnegie spent millions on charitable giving, he had strong ideas about who should and should not receive help, stating that his libraries were for the "industrious and ambitious; not those who need everything done for them, but those who, being most anxious and able to help themselves, deserve and will be benefited by help from others."
The building shown here eventually came to be not just a library, but a center for self-improvement of various sorts, with a swimming pool, recreational facilities, and a music hall. When the steel industry, and with it Braddock, began its precipitous decline, the building was slated for demolition, but was rescued in 1978 by the Braddock's Field Historical Society, and is still in use as a branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.
Posted by JS at 9:57 AM