- By David M. Kinchen
James E. Casto, a good friend and a retired newspaperman in Huntington, emailed appreciative comments about my Jan. 16 tribute to my hometown Carnegie Libraryin Rochelle, IL and sent along a link to a story he did for Wonderful West Virginia magazine on Carnegie libraries in the Mountain State: link:http://www.wonderfulwv.com/archives/sub.cfm?month=nov09&fea=1.
Casto, who has written many books about Huntington — most recently The Great Ohio River Flood of 1937, a photo history — noted that all of the buildings mentioned in his recent story are still standing but none of them is today used as a library.
Here’s what Casto says about Huntington’s Carnegie library:
Carnegie routinely set two conditions for his library grants: the donation of a suitable site and a guarantee of operating funds. In Huntington, the city gave a corner lot at 5th Avenue and 9th Street, and the school board agreed to cover the library’s operating costs. When plans for the new library were changed to include a small auditorium, Carnegie even provided an additional $10,000 for the project. The building, a classic Beaux Arts design, was completed and dedicated in 1904. It would house the library for more than 75 years. In 1980, the Cabell County Public Library moved to a new, modern structure just across the street from its long-time home. Today, the Carnegie building houses Huntington Junior College, a private career school. Thanks, Jim, for providing this information. The photo accompanying this story shows the 1904 Huntington Carnegie library.
Jim’s article for Wonderful West Virginia also mentions Hinton’s Carnegie library, completed in 1912 at 423 Ballengee St. The structure is now home to the Veterans Memorial Museum of Southern West Virginia. The Summers County Public Library has been housed since 1981 in a former bank building on Temple Street.