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Carnegie Branch Libraries

Philadelphia had 25 Carnegie Branch Libraries bestowed on it, from a 1903 grant. Talk about brotherly love! The Free Library of Philadelphia has a great deal of information on the history of its branches, with a few gaps. I lack postcards yet of several locations. 

Images on the monochrome postcards are attributable to the William H. Lau studio. Some were printed by the Albertype co. of Brooklyn.

Falls of Schuylkill

Falls of Schuylkill Branch, Warden Drive and Midvale Avenue

Still in use as a library. This Tudor building was constructed from stone, and lends a foreboding air.


Built 1906. Demolished ca. 1959.


Vernon Park

Converted to a senior center. It's as if the card at right presaged it.


Fifty-First Street below Chester Avenue

Still in use.

Postcard is marked Rau Art Studios, Inc., and appears older than the Albertype series.


Sixth Street and Lehigh Avenue

Now known as the Lillian Marrero branch, this Beaux-Arts building is still in use.


Wagner Avenue and Old York Road

Still in use. This is one of the plainest Classical Revival buildings of the group.


Fleming and Dupont Streets

A very dramatic building, which is now a nursing home. Those stone walls would slow any escapees down.

Oak Lane

Oak Lane and Twelfth Street

This branch building conforms to the Carnegie "standard plan," which leads me to believe it was one of the later buildings (the last from the grant was complete in 1930! 


N.W. Corner Fifth and Ellsworth Streets

No longer a library, but houses the Philadelphia Overseas Chinese Association. It does not seem to have undergone any exterior renovation except for signage.

Spring Garden

Seventeenth and Spring Garden Streets

Spring Garden branch library of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

Opened in 1907. Closed as a branch library in 1955 but reopened in 1957 as the Free Library of Philadelphia Library for the Blind. It was demolished after 1970, but before 1991; a curiously wide range of years given on a library web site.


Torresdale Avenue and Knorr Street

Again, likely to have been one of the later construction projects.

I don't know why the large group of adults was at this location.

Thomas Holme

Frankford Avenue and Hartel Street

Apparently this community was known as Holmesburg, and the library was built post-World War I as a memorial.

It is still in use.

West Philadelphia (Walnut)

Fortieth and Walnut Street

Originally known as the West Philadelphia Branch, it is now known as the Walnut Branch, and is still in use.


Manayunk Avenue and Osborn Street

This was another difficult location for a library. Sometime after 1969, the attractive building burned, and its replacement is the Roxborough Branch Library.

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