Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries-Tremont Branch

E-BULLETIN OF THE HISTORIC DISTRICTS COUNCIL

October 2014, Volume 11, Number 3

In This Issue:
• Six to Celebrate -Carnegie Library Tremont Branch
• Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries

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Campaign to Preserve the Carnegie Libraries

Carnegie Library booklet

Starting in 2009, HDC initiated a survey to document the existing Carnegie Libraries throughout New York City. We visited each branch, taking new detailed exterior and interior photographs, documenting existing and historic conditions and researching the rich history of each location. Now we need to raise $15,000 to complete this project and launch it into the public realm. Funding will be used to hire an architectural historian to conduct research necessary to complete the thematic National Register of Historic Places nomination for the Carnegie Libraries and finish photo documentation.

To read more about the campaign or to donate click here

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Bronx Carnegie Library: Tremont Branch

TremontBranch

Bronx Carnegie Library: Tremont Branch

1866 Washington Avenue
Bronx, New York 10457

The Tremont Branch of the New York Public Library is the second of the Carnegie branch libraries to be built in the borough of the Bronx and one of the earliest to be built in the entire city. The library sits on a generous corner lot at the intersection of Washington Avenue and 176th Street in the East Tremont neighborhood of South Central Bronx. It has continuously served the community for over one-hundred years.

Architects of the library were Carrère & Hastings, the firm responsible for the grand Beaux-Arts main branch of the New York Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street, in addition to fourteen other of the Carnegie branch libraries. The Tremont Library was the firm’s fifth Carnegie branch libraries to be erected in the city and the first to be erected the Bronx.[1] Made of red brick and limestone, the library reflects the materials of the Stapleton and Tottenville branches, which opened a year earlier on Staten Island. Federally inspired, the Tremont Branch library is a monumental public edifice in this predominantly residential neighborhood of the Bronx.

Completed between 1904 and 1905, the library was built by John B. Schaefer, Jr., who would later build the Bushwick Carnegie Branch Library in Brooklyn in 1908. A cornerstone laying ceremony for the Tremont Branch took place on January 21, 1904 that was attended by several hundred people. A number of community leaders gave speeches at the event including Reverent F.B. Makepeace, President of the Bronx Free Library, which had merged with the New York Public Library a year earlier.

The cost of the site was $18,750. The building was erected for a total cost of $100,676. An official opening ceremony was held in the library’s assembly room on July 22, 1905. Notable guests included Arthur Bostwick, Chief of the library’s Circulation Department, William Harman Black, Commissioner of Accounts, as well as a representative of the mayor’s office. Upon it opening, the library was equipped with a staff of nine librarians and, as was custom for the Carnegie branch libraries, a live-in custodian – a position that would be held by various men until well into the 1980s.[2] It is not currently designated.

In order to accommodate the surge in population, an addition to the northern side of the building was erected in 1916 using surplus funds from the Carnegie bequest. The library was refurbished again between October and November of 1953, when major repairs were made to the roof and over two-hundred feet of book shelves were added to the children’s room.[3]

To read more about the Tremont Branch Library click here
To view more image of the Tremont Branch click here
For a full list of Carnegie Libraries in The Bronx click here

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