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Carnegie Libraries of Maine

Maine's Carnegie libraries cover every architectural style from Queen Anne to Prairie. The last card I need to find for the state is Milo.

Auburn, ME Carnegie library in Eclectic style

A truly deviant 1903 Carnegie library, large for the size of its town, and thrice renovated.
Still in use.
The oddest Carnegie buildings, I have learned, are the earliest.
Auburn's is considered to be Eclectic style, influenced by Richardson Romanesque, according to Corinne Smith's New England Libraries.
Her page, now under new auspices, has some great photographic documentation of the library's recent renovation.

Carnegie Library, Caribou, ME

1911 building, still in use. The Library's history page mentions some wonderful snippets, including a 1963 addition, and then, a Federally subsidized fallout shelter.


No identifiers on the glossy postcard, not even a plate number.

Fort Fairfield

1911 grant, built in 1913 by R.J. Noyes. There has been an addition, but the front of the library is unchanged.


Curt Teich card, made for the American Art Post Card Company of Boston. Probable date: 1927.

Ft. Fairfield, ME Carnegie library
Freeport (B.H. Bartol Library)
B.H. Bartol Library, Freeport, ME
B.H. Bartol Library, Freeport, ME
B.H. Bartol Library, Freeport, ME

The monochrome card, locally printed, should get the award for the most depressing library postcard ever.

An F.E. Merrill Card. But of course, it was printed in Germany.

Linen finish Tichnor Quality View.

1905 Carnegie grant. By 2005, the building was occupied by a factory outlet store. The houses in the background are also all gone.


Designed by Henry Richards and built in 1888. Per Corinne Smith, it's Queen Anne style. Frankly, this looks more like a poorhouse or a penitentiary than a library.

Although the library received a small ($2,500) amount of Carnegie funding in 1897, calling it a Carnegie library connotes a lot of Andrewphilia.

Gardiner, ME public library

(L) Card by the Mason Brothers.

(R) Card for C.H. Beane, of Gardiner. An astonishingly detailed interior scene, this is the only public library interior I have seen with provision made for its oversize books. A dictionary stand and card catalog array is also visible.

Crowded interior of the Gardiner, ME public library
Guilford, ME Carnegie Library

Began as a subscription library, and surprisingly, received a Carnegie grant in 1908. The building is still in use as a public library, but has essentially been obliterated by additions.

This sharp photo card was mailed in 1909.

Houlton (Cary Memorial Library)
Houlton, ME Carnegie library (Cary Memorial Library)

Another ethereal, misty Maine library image on a H.J. Hatheway postcard.


This one dates from a 1903 Carnegie grant. It's still in use with a whopping addition.


Lewiston, ME Carnegie library

Hard rock library in a hard rock (and hard-scrabble) town. The Carnegie building was finished in 1903, received an addition in 1996; and apparently was replaced in 2005, becoming a cultural center.


A 1904 Carnegie grant resulted in a pleasant red brick library building. According to Wikipedia, its unusual design was produced by architects Snow & Humphries.


E.H. Holt card, mailed in 1921.


Madison, ME Carnegie library

They persisted.

A 1911 grant application was rejected by Carnegie: a second appeal in 1912 succeeded. Plans were approved in 1914, and finally, the library was built in 1915.

Oakland, ME Carnegie library

(L) The postcard, sold at Foster's Drug Store, was never mailed. It may be a Curt Teich product.

(R) Photo postcard probably dates between 1930 and 1955.

Oakland, ME Carnegie library
Old Town

Carnegie (1903) building. Still in use.

To the left of the library front is 'HISTORY,' to the right, 'SCIENCE.'
The library now has a new wing, 'FICTION,' courtesy of Tabitha King.
I made up some of that.


Old Town, ME Carnegie library

(L) Rekaner Bros. card, mailed in 1906.
(R) Robbins Bros. card, ca. 1907. In the haste of production during the postal regulation changes of that year, the image was originally misidentified as the University of Maine, Orono. However, the University also had a Carnegie building.

Old Town, ME Carnegie library

1903 grant. Still in use. Its architect was Albert Randolph Ross. It is said that he reused the design for the Warsaw, NY library.

Pittsfield, ME Carnegie library

(L) Metropolitan News card, mailed in 1905.
(R) H.H. Nutter/Curt Teich card from 1914.


Pittsfield, ME Carnegie library
Presque Isle

Carnegie (1906) building, still retained Romanesque touches until its huge 1966 addition.

Now known as the Mark and Emily Turner Memorial Library, it was renovated in 2011.

Presque Isle, ME Carnegie library

(L) American Art Post Card, mailed in 1943.

(R) Tichnor Quality Views linen card.


Presque Isle, ME Carnegie library

Built 1903-4 from a 1902 Carnegie grant. 2000-1 addition.
Very modern looking library on a linen-finish card mailed in 1935.


If you take a look at more recent library buildings such as that of Plainfield, Illinois, you can see the resemblance. Beaux Arts and Georgian Revival have some staying power.


Rockland, ME Carnegie library
Interior of the Rockland, ME Carnegie library, including statuary

The early Curt Teich-printed card, commissioned by Huston-Tuttle Book Co., shows an interior resembling one from the 1800s, except for a work light on the service desk.


1903 grant: still in use, with an addition. Romanesque architecture was beginning to fade in popularity by the time John Calvin Stevens designed this attractive building.


Early Hugh C. Leighton card, mailed in 1907, calls the town 'Rumford Falls.'

Rumford, ME Carnegie library
Vinalhaven, ME Carnegie library in Prairie-style architecture

Located on an island, this surprising Prairie School building is still in use.

1906 grant. The granite library was designed by Clough & Wardner. Unexpectedly, they hailed from Boston.

RPPC mailed in 1907, perhaps before its opening.

Waterville, ME Carnegie library (Eclectic style)

Yes, it's a Carnegie building, from a 1902 grant. An addition was built in 1976.

If two cards can be considered an interesting progression, these illustrate the maturation of a library's setting.

Carnegie library (Eclectic style)

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