carnegie library

one of my long time dreams came true while visiting wisconsin last week, i got to go inside the nearly hundred year old carnegie library on hammond avenue. from the street it looks impressive, like you could still pop in and check out a book, but the interior paints a much different picture.

the paint is peeling off the crumbling plaster walls and all of the original wood floors are damp and spongy.  graffiti covers walls and plywood covers up basement windows. however, there is still something incredibly beautiful about the place. if you look through the layer of time you see the richness of materials, marble mosaic floors, terazzo steps and steel bookshelves, solid oak doors, bronze hardware and brick built to last.

the fate of this long forgotten house of books was once foreboding, slated to be torn down years ago, but thanks to "friends of the carnegie" she is now safe from harm. however, the costs to keep up and repair the building could prove to be quite substantial so a permanent owner who sees her beauty and has the wherewithal to bring her back to life is what she needs.

a fellow named bob was my tour guide and he had lots of interesting information to share, including the fact that for a small donation amount you can own a part of all this wonderful history. sign me up! i can only hope that one day this lovely place is given the makeover she deserves.

for a look at the building throughout the years click here, here and here.

photos: j. kurtz