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City Council approves historic status for five Carnegie Library buildings

By the South Pittsburgh Reporter

By a unanimous vote, on Tuesday, July 13, Pittsburgh City Council designated five original neighborhood branch buildings, of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, as City Designated Historic Structures.

The library branch buildings so designated include the branches in the Pittsburgh neighborhoods of Hazelwood (opened August 15, 1900), Homewood (opened March 10, 1911), Lawrenceville?(opened May 10, 1898), Mount Washington (opened May 31, 1900), and West End (opened January 31, 1899).

These designations culminated a seven-month public process, which began with the nomination for historic designation of the five library buildings by Walter Kidney, architectural historian for the Pittsburgh History and Landmarks Foundation. After several public hearings, both the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh and the Pittsburgh City Planning Commission forwarded unanimous recommendations, to Pittsburgh City Council, in favor of the historic designations.

City Council held its own public hearings on the nominated library buildings on June 30. More than 45 citizens testified at the five public hearings, all supporting the proposed historic designations.

Twenty-two of these citizens specifically endorsed the historic designation of the Mount Washington Branch Library, located prominently on Grandview Avenue. Many of these people expressed concern regarding the possible relocation of this branch library out of the historic library building, which is the only library building construction that had been partially funded using monetary contributions from neighborhood residents.

Designation as City Designated Historic Structures means that these five library buildings cannot be demolished, or their exteriors altered, without approval of the Historic Review Commission of Pittsburgh. Such designation does not protect the interior of the building, or furnishings, equipment, or artifacts in the building. Nor does designation require that the owner or lessee continue operations in the building. All five library buildings are owned by the City of Pittsburgh and leased by The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

In addition to the five library buildings which just received historic designation, the Main Branch in Oakland, Allegheny Regional Branch on the North Side and the South Side Branch, of The Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, are already protected by the Historic Review Ordinance.

South Pittsburgh Reporter – PO Box 4285 – Pittsburgh – PA -15203 – Phone: 412-481-0266 – Email:

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

Phone: 412-471-5808  |  Fax: 412-471-1633