Point’s Carnegie Library: A faint memory
By Chelsey Pfiffner
The final installment of Pfiffner’s series
The Carnegie Library was sold to the First National Bank and sat empty for a few years. Then in April of 1969, the bank decided to demolish the building citing worries about vandalism. With that quick decision, it met its end nearly 65 years to the day of when Dr. Southwick received official word from Andrew Carnegie’s secretary.
Nothing would be built on the land again, and today the site is covered in cement and blacktop. Mostly memories and some photos remain, but you can still imagine a bit what it would have been like to walk through the enormous beautiful ornate brass doors of the original entrance. The doors and lamp posts were thoughtfully salvaged by those who realized their importance. Saved by local historian John Anderson and stored in the basement of the Old Main Building at the University, the doors safely sat and collected dust for a few decades. The lamp posts continued to be used and were moved to the front of the new Charles M White Library. Later, the lamp post silhouette was incorporated into the library logo.
When the third and present library was built in 1992, the brass doors were dusted off and brought out of storage to be reunited with the lamp posts at the new library entrance.
The entrance to the Pinery Room meeting space, specifically designed to hold the doors, gave the library a beautiful grand entrance once again. Unfortunately, the transom that hangs above the doors is not original and it is a fabricated replicate based on the door design.
Today, the original hangs in the home of a private citizen, and at the time was not available for public display.
The replica is slightly different than the first transom, but one would not know without seeing the original. Regardless of the differences, the current transom beautifully helps to complete the imagery of literally walking through the doors of another time. You can almost smell the books and hear the creaky floors.
The Stevens Point Carnegie Library is a more than a memory from the past, it was more than a building to many, it was an ideal, open to all, that brought a community together and gave its citizens a beautiful place to grow and learn.
Locals, today, fondly reminisce about the smell of ancient books, the sound of the creaking wood floors and the dark varnished wood.
Others do not remember the Carnegie Library, nor know it even existed at all.
This story is being used courtesy of Chelsey Pfiffner, research historian and proprietor of Primary Source Investigations. For more photos and more by this author, visit the “Historic Stevens Point” Facebook page or www.historicstevenspoint.com. Contact Pfiffner at [email protected].