Carnegie Libraries of Illinois
Cities S - W
St. Charles (St. Charles Township)
Finished in 1908, and still in use over a century later.
Bial and Bial mention a 1963 addition, but judging from a recent visit, there seems to have been at least one more since then.
Fortunately, the front portion is still intact. In real life, the brick is an attractive deep brown shade seldom seen in Chicago area buildings.
E.C. Kropp post card mailed in 1916. Its colors are fairly accurate.
An M. L. Photo
Pseudo 'Blue Sky' card mailed in 1931.
Completed in 1905 after a bit of a cost overrun. Still in use. In real life, I mistook this building for a post office.
In my defense, I didn't acquire the C.R. Childs postcard until 2007.
(L) Photo postcard, mailed 1910.
(R) C.R. Childs postcard.
(L) ca. 1907 card from an unknown manufacturer.
(R) Curt Teich 'Blue Sky' brand postcard.
Beale photo postcard, possibly from the 1950s.
Curt Teich card.
C.U. Williams 'Photoette' card
1903 grant. Dedicated 1905. 1995 'facelift.' 2000 addition. Still in use.
Nice library site with a spiffy photo of the main desk.
Now known as the Richard A. Mautino Memorial Library.
Built in 1912, remarkably rapidly after the January 27 grant approval.
Minor renovation in 2001; children's wing and Veteran's Wing added in 2004.
This L.L. Cook photocard shows the unusual brickwork with light and dark brick used to great visual effect. The maturity of the trees implies that the card dates from the 1950s at earliest.
Springfield (Lincoln Library)
According to Leigh Kimmel, on the Leviathan's Libraries page, no longer viewable online, this was the library which provoked Andrew Carnegie into specifying practical structures, ending the era of creative Carnegie buildings. She stated about this building:
The architecture of the Lincoln Library, like so many Carnegie libraries of the early period, was a chaos of columns and wasted air space, incorporating sixteen distinct architectural styles.
(I can only pick out 3. So there.)
(L) Majestic brand postcard.
(R) V.O. Hammon postcard.
(L) Mailed 1909.
1904 - 1974
Carnegie himself did not want his name on the building.
Abe was in no condition to protest.
(L) Only a faint trace of the back wing is shown, but they did leave in a tiny mailbox.
(R) An unusual angle shot of the Carnegie building,
showing the rear wing.
There is no clue to the age of this card, but it probably was printed before 1920.
Considered by everyone--except its residents--to be a twin city of Rock Falls.
Apparently the building (1903 Carnegie grant) is still in use.
(L) Printed by the 'Ind-Times P'T'G & Eng. Co.' Mailed in 1907 and preserved in remarkable condition.
(R) Published by the F.W. Kirby & Co., this postcard informed Ada that Roy was spending a few days with Effie.
1901 grant: built in 1903. Still in use.
Built in 1905, apparently with the same plan as Greenville's building. Still in use, albeit with at least one large, discordant addition.
Sycamore is one of Illinois' Lincoln Highway cities, and lies just east of DeKalb.
(R) The epitome of anonymity.
No waiting on a party line. Just look at that honkin' telephone pole.
(L) Curt Teich 'Blue-Sky' postcard.
(R) This library is really this red, or even redder yet.
(L) German card, imported and published by M.J. Hogan of Taylorville. Sent 1913.
(R) Mailed 1911. Street signs indicate this is the corner of Market St. and S. Webster.
1903 grant: built in 1904. No longer in use, but is occupied by DePaepe Law Office, since 1998.
1903 grant. Replaced in 2012: as of 2018, still standing, empty and forlorn, in a residential neighborhood.
Photo postcard mailed in 1941. Its plate code leads me to believe that this is an L.L. Cook card.
This photo dates from 2018, and is copyright by myself.
The building was up for sale then. Despite being a county seat, Toulon is less than 1000 in population.
(L) C.U. Williams 'Photoette' cards vary significantly in quality. This is one of the better views, showing five library patrons, perhaps waiting for the library to open for the day. You can also see a glimpse of the neighborhood.
(R) It doesn't seem as if the unknown, probably German printer did a thing to improve the photo. Perhaps he used a patented drabification process.
(L) Photo card addressed ca. 1940, to a Miss Grumbles.
This tiny library was built in 1903, in what looked like, in the card above, to be a less-than prosperous neighborhood.
Imagine my surprise to find out it is still in use a century later, having undergone a 1997 ADA-compliant renovation, and a total renovation in 1998.
And it's rather pretty after all, as the Real Photo card shows.
(L) C.R. Childs card from Chicago.
(R) This C.R. Childs postcard has it all. It had even more before I realized the object to the right of the water tower is a street light suspended from overhead wires, not an airplane.
Warren, Jo Daviess County, Illinois
Confirmed as a 1911 Carnegie building, built by Patton and Miller. Still in use.
The image is cropped from a postcard that appears to have been produced from a negative held by hand, as one can see fingertips. It was never mailed.
By Simplicity (Chicago).
By E.A. Bishop
By L.L. Cook, ca. 1940
Final Carnegie grant received in 1903: superceded in 1965. The building was used by the local YMCA until 1980, per the Bials. It is soon to be restored to glory as a Ray Bradbury museum.
The building in the righthand background was a hotel, per correspondent Douglas Winston. It may have been the 'Elmore.'
The next building beyond was a Chicago Northwestern R.R. station. Both have been razed.
The function of the lefthand building is unknown. Its sign ends in SON.
One of two public libraries in Morgan County (the other is Jacksonville).
1911 grant: built 1912. Still in use, although with a discordant addition on its front. In contrast, its reading room (3rd photo on the library web page) is nearly identical to this Black & White brand postcard,
The city fathers must have been
positively apoplectic when they saw
this ca. 1907 card. It is hideous.
On the back is written (1909):
This is the new library in Wilmette
on the corner of 12 str and Wilmette Ave. ...
C.R. Childs' views are generally much nicer than its competitors' products. This card was mailed in 1936, and is probably the most recent of the Wilmette collection.
Early photo postcard reveals a very beautiful Claude & Starck building.
1903 - 1951
This Prairie Sister is dead and gone.
Wilmette Public Library serves Kenilworth and Wilmette on Chicago's North Shore.
Carnegie building built in 1910 on land donated by Mrs. Percy Grout. I don't know why that fact tickles me so. Sometime between the time the card photos were taken, and 1991, when Bial and Bial's Carnegie Libraries in Illinois was published, a large addition was built on the lefthand side of the building.
This building is absolutely modern in appearance, and still is, thanks to the sensitive renovation. I could easily imagine living in this Japonesque building.
(L) Unattributed photo postcard.
1913 grant. Still in use.
This is a timeless structure which doesn't resemble any other Illinois libraries of which I am familiar.
The photograph is by Pauli Brothers, and is dated 1915. I suspect it was taken prior to the Library's occupancy.
I took this photo on a 2018 trip around western Illinois. The library was open, and is essentially unchanged. There's a vitrine of Illinois bird species behind the service desk. Just a lovely building.
Illinois Carnegie Libraries Listed by the Illinois Historic Preservation Agency
Arcola Carnegie Public Library
Danville Public Library
Ayer Public Library (Delavan)
El Paso Public Library
Greenville Public Library
Havana Public Library
Hoopeston Carnegie Public Library
Jacksonville Public Library
Lincoln Public Library
Litchfield Public Library
Olney Carnegie Library
Paris Carnegie Public Library
Paxton Carnegie Public Library
Buffalo Township Public Library (Polo)
Streator Public Library
Vienna Public Library