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West End Library Historic Landmark Plaque Dedication

PHLF Historic Landmark plaque unveiling West End Branch Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 47 Wabash St., Alden & Harlow, architects, 1899

PHLF Historic Landmark plaque unveiling, West End Branch Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, 47 Wabash St., Alden & Harlow, architects, 1899

Although Andrew Carnegie did request in a letter that a branch library be established in Temperanceville, now Pittsburgh’s West End, there is no report that Andrew Carnegie ever visited the West End Branch of the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh. However, he did visit 116 years after the branch’s opening. Re-enactor Fred Lapisardi portrayed the philanthropist and unveiled the PHLF Historic Landmark plaque to a delighted group of friends on September 19, 2015.

One of the first branch libraries to be built (only the Lawrenceville branch preceded this), the West End branch was designed by Alden & Harlow, Pittsburgh’s leading architectural firm at the time and designers of the Main Branch in Oakland.

The West End branch was dedicated on January 31, 1899, and its original collection numbered between 4,000 and 5,000 books. It is especially famous for being the birthplace of library storytelling. Librarian Charlotte Keith offered a “Story Hour” as an experiment, since kindergartens were beginning the practice. Youngsters at the branch liked the stories and soon the main Carnegie Library and others all over the United States instituted story hours for children.

PHLF thanks the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh Board of Trustees and staff for their commitment to renovating this architecturally significant neighborhood branch library and others. PHLF also thanks the offices of City Councilwoman Theresa Kail-Smith and City Council President Bruce Kraus for the plaque purchase and placement.

Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation

100 West Station Square Drive, Suite 450

Pittsburgh, PA 15219

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