By using this site, you agree to its use of cookies as provided in our policy.

Akron Public Library - Akron, Ohio
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member buffalohiker
N 41° 05.095 W 081° 30.910
17T E 456729 N 4548311
Quick Description: Building #83002060 - Akron Public Library (Carnegie Library), 69 E Market St, Akron, Ohio
Location: Ohio, United States
Date Posted: 12/9/2009 11:04:31 AM
Waymark Code: WM7VVV
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 1

Long Description:
Built in 1904, the 30,000-square-foot Carnegie Building served as Akron's public library and art museum before it was converted into office space in 1980. The building's huge atrium, pillars and terra cotta roof give the structure the look of an 18th century French cathedral. The building’s architectural style is Beaux Arts Classicism. The front façade is arranged as a projecting central pavilion flanked by wings of equal size. The components are distinguished by corner piers. Those of the pavilion have rustic quoins at their corners and indicate the entry flanked by two fluted ionic columns in antis. The four piers of the façade also determine four plinths above the deep dentiled cornice. They form the ends of a parapet surrounding the mansard roof and contain inscriptions of the names of authors. The entry is further ornamented by a trophy and mascaron. The entry staircase has been altered twice and the tabernacle windows and all architectural ornaments of the interior removed.

From the Akron Beacon Journal, August 2, 2004, by Mark J. Price:
“U.S. industrialist Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919) was kind enough to donate $82,000 for construction of the stone building at East Market and North High streets. All someone had to do was ask.
“The Akron Public Library had outgrown its quarters on the second floor of the Everett Building at North Main and East Market streets. It moved there in 1898 after vacating the second-floor confines of the Masonic Temple, where the library was founded in 1874 at South Howard and West Mill streets.
“Carnegie, the world's richest man, was giving away his fortune in dribs and drabs. Between 1881 and 1917, the philanthropist doled out millions of dollars to build 2,811 public libraries, including 1,946 in the United States and 111 in Ohio.
“Akron attorney John C. Frank, a member and future president of the library board, suggested that the group apply for a Carnegie grant after learning in 1901 that the steel tycoon was giving a free library to Kent.
“Frank mailed a letter that summer to Carnegie's office in New York. The initial response was lukewarm at best, so Frank sent another impassioned plea in October.
“A handwritten note from James Bertram, Carnegie's personal secretary, arrived just before Christmas: "Responding to yours of October 4, if the city of Akron will furnish a suitable site and pledge itself by resolution of council to support a library at cost of not less than $7,000 a year, Mr. Carnegie will provide $70,000 for a free public library building.''
“City leaders seized upon the magnificent offer. They selected Bierce Park, the site of Gen. Lucius V. Bierce's old homestead, and sponsored a competition for the best building design.
“Noted Akron architect Frank O. Weary submitted the winning plans: a three-story, Renaissance-style structure featuring Corinthian columns, Italian marble, Tiffany art glass and a red tile roof.
“There was a slight problem, though. Carnegie's donation, as generous as it was, only allowed for a brick building. Weary had hoped to use Ohio sandstone on an iron frame.
“It took a lot of moxie, but John C. Frank asked for more money. He traveled to New York to meet with Carnegie and persuaded him to donate another $12,000 to the project.
“Everything fell into place after that. George Carmichael & Co. won the contract in August 1902. Norcross Brothers of Cleveland furnished the marble. Akron Paving & Plastering did the stucco and plaster work. Wilson, Hungate and Co. worked on decorations. The M. O'Neil Co. of Akron provided tables and chairs.
“The work continued for more than a year. Finally, in April 1904, the library shut down its Everett Building quarters and moved to 75 E. Market St.
“Hundreds of people — men, women and children — attended the dedication ceremony Aug. 1, 1904. The crowd climbed the stone steps and saw the bold words carved above the front entrance: OPEN TO ALL. Etched in the frieze near the top of the building were the names Shakespeare, Chaucer, Socrates and Herodotus.
“An orchestra performed as visitors filed through the handsome building. They saw mosaic floors, stained-glass windows, wall paintings and frescoes.
“The library quarters included a rotunda, reading room, delivery desk, director's room, reference room, stack room, study rooms, lecture room and "public closets'' for men and women.
“One interesting feature was a basement entrance for bicyclists. They could ride down a ramp beneath the front steps and stow their bikes inside.
“The new library contained 21,000 books, an ample supply for the 4,000 registered borrowers. Akron's population was only about 55,000 people at the time.
“‘Here we have an institution that is for every age, every grade and every color,’ Buchtel College President August B. Church told those gathered. ‘The people should realize that this is a great privilege and a great adjunct to the home.’
“Akron Mayor Charles W. Kempel struck a philosophical note: ‘It has been said there is no darkness but ignorance, hence, the dispelling of that darkness is by the spreading of knowledge,'' he said. "This building will assist in leaving in the light.’
“Ira M. Priest, president of the Akron City Council, urged the crowd to rejoice in the dedication ceremony. ’The occasion is unique,’ Priest said. ‘None of us will ever take part in a similar occasion for this building will stand long after you and I have passed away.’
“Finally, it was time for John C. Frank, the library board president, to make the official transfer of the building to the city. He took out a 718-page book and handed it to Kempel.
“‘It was customary in the olden times when a piece of land was sold to give the purchaser a piece of turf,'' Frank said.”In accordance with that custom, I present the mayor a book, probably the oldest in the library, The History of the World, written by Sir Walter Raleigh and printed in London in 1614. This presentation is made in behalf of the people.’
“The Akron Public Library, also known as the Carnegie Free Library, would serve the community for nearly 40 years. Under the guidance of head librarian Mary Pauline Edgerton, the building became a center for knowledge and cultural oasis.
“Yet, because of unforeseen circumstances, the facility suffered the same fate as earlier incarnations. Akron was a boom town. Its rubber companies expanded quickly, attracting workers from across the nation. The city's population exploded from 69,067 in 1910 to 208,435 in 1920 to 255,040 in 1930.
“Suddenly, the Carnegie library wasn't big enough — even with the addition of branches. In 1942, the main library jumped to the former Beacon Journal building at East Market and Summit streets. In 1969, it vaulted to a brand-new facility at 55 S. Main St.
“[T]he Akron Art Institute took over the old Carnegie site in 1947 and remained there until the museum moved across the street in 1981. It later was home to the Roetzel and Andress law firm. Today it's known as the Carnegie Building” and houses Brennan, Manna & Diamond Attorneys and Counselors at Law.
Street address:
69 E Market St
Akron, Ohio USA

County / Borough / Parish: Summit County

Year listed: 1983

Historic (Areas of) Significance: Event, Architecture/Engineering

Periods of significance: 1900-1924

Historic function: Education - Library

Current function: Law Offices

Privately owned?: yes

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Secondary Website 2: Not listed

National Historic Landmark Link: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
Search for... Google Map
Google Maps
Bing Maps Maps
Nearest Waymarks
Nearest U.S. National Register of Historic Places
Nearest Geocaches
Nearest Benchmarks
Nearest Hotels
Create a scavenger hunt using this waymark as the center point
Recent Visits/Logs:
Date Logged Log User Rating  
buffalohiker visited Akron Public Library - Akron, Ohio 12/17/2009 buffalohiker visited it