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Public Libraries of Kentucky & Tennessee


Built in 1935 with the help of the WPA. A 1959 addition was built, and in 1981, this section was demolished.


E.C. Kropp linen finish postcard, mailed in 1943.

Ashland, KY public library
Franklin (Goodnight Memorial Library & Auditorium)
Goodnight Memorial Library & Auditorium, Franklin, KY

(L) 1937 Curt Teich 'C.T. Blue Sky' card.
(R) Chrome postcard: building is showing a little wear.

Goodnight Memorial Library & Auditorium, Franklin, KY

I had a suspicion that this also was a WPA project: I was right. It was planned, however, by Mrs. Goodnight, who was widowed when a stray bullet hit her husband at a local carnival in 1913. She, in turn, passed in 1935.
According to the Library's history page, all its incorporated functions are still in use.

Glasgow (Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library)
Mary Wood Weldon Memorial Library, Glasgow, KY

A lot of strange buildings have been converted to libraries over the years, but this is the first time I've heard of a donated apartment building (and later, a garage) serving the purpose. This unusual arrangement ended in 2009 with a new building. The new one looks like a nursing home instead.

The 1946 linen finish Curt Teich postcard was published soon after the building shown's opening.

Hazard (Perry County Public Library)
Perry County Public Library, Hazard, KY

Google Street View shows a huge new (2012) building. Whether this attractive building is incorporated, I know not.


Dexter Press postcard can only be dated as post-1962.

Mayfield (Mayfield-Graves County Library)
Mayfield-Graves Co. (KY) library

This building reverted to the Annie Gardner Foundation.


Chrome postcard for Thompson's Community Service.

Nicholasville (Withers Library)
Nicholasville, KY Library

Kraemer Art Co. postcard, mailed in 


Nicholasville, KY has a deep tie with Bloomington, IL.

Their Libraries were bequeathed by a member of the Withers family. This building, at the intersection of Maple & First Street, had a first floor room furnished to house the collection. There is nothing left at this location which strongly resembles this image. However, there is a red brick building without the multiple stairs and with a wing and a second floor porch which

could be it. 

In 1906, the Library moved to more appropriate quarters, and in 1975, a purpose-built library building was furnished, The Withers-Jessamine County Public Library.

The newest iteration is the Jessamine County Public Library.

Paducah (Paducah Area Public Library)

Paducah is now served by the McCracken County Public Library.

Replaced the Carnegie library, which burned due to a faulty Christmas light in 1964.

This card shows the proposed replacement building, never mentioning its necessity. According to the card, it had 33,836 square feet, excluding the basement. 

The current building doesn't resemble the St. Louis Color Postcard Co. card image.

Artist's rendering of the proposed Paducah (KY) Area Public Library
Princeton (George Coon Public Library)
George Coon Public Library, Princeton, KY

The library's web site seems rather rudimentary. It does, however, show a tasteful addition to the original building.


1929 Curt Teich 'American Art Black and White' postcard.

Chattanooga, TN public library

After trying to research this building online, I gave up. There are scads of interior pictures. There's a Google Street View of a different building. All I discovered is that this building also seems to have also served the University of Chattanooga, now the University of Tennessee--Chattanooga. It's not standing on campus.


So, here's a W.M. Cline postcard for you.

Cleveland, TN public library

The building still seems to be serving as the Library's history branch.


E.C. Kropp card, mailed in 1935.

Crossville (Art Circle Library)
Art Circle Library, Crossville, TN

According to Wikipedia, the Art Circle, a women's club, founded a lending library in 1898. This building is supposedly a former bank building, into which the library moved in 1939, and away from, in 2010.

The unattributed postcard shows a Dr Pepper ad by the chimney of the stone building.

Knoxville (Lawson McGhee Library)

Oldest continually operating library in Tennessee, believe it or not. This iteration, initially segregated, was built in 1916. It was replaced in 1971.

According to the Library's video, segregation ended in 1950.. Interestingly, Andrew Carnegie funded the Free Carnegie Colored Branch, demolished in 1965 in a flurry of urban renewal.

Lawson McGhee Public Library, Knoxville, TN

(L) Curt Teich linen finish postcard.

(R) Dexter Press Dextone (chrome) card, slightly newer.

Lawson McGhee Public Library, Knoxville, TN
Memphis (Cossitt Library)
Cossitt Library, Memphis, TN. Richardsonian Romanesque style

(L) Original building: very beautiful.
(R) 1958 addition on a Plastichrome brand card.


Worst library addition ever.


Mid-century modern addition to the Cossitt Library, Memphis, TN

The Memphis Cossitt Library site asserts that this was the most common Memphis landmark ever seen on postcards. It was a striking 1893 building. Sadly, it sat empty for a year, awaiting books.
Then the city dump became its unwanted neighbor.
It had an addition in 1925, and then it was mainly demolished for the 1958 wing (R).


Now it's demoted to being a branch library.

Rugby (Thomas Hughes Public Library)
Hughes Public Library, Rugby, TN

The community of Rugby (Morgan County) has an interesting history, being a failed attempt at merging the British educational ("public") school system with nascent American culture. The Library was built in 1882, despite a large portion of colonists succumbing to typhoid the previous year.

Apparently the Library is a classical time capsule, open to tourism.

The postcard dates after 1962 (ZIP) and likely pre-1980. Barbara Paylor was the photographer.

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