Built in 1903 with funds donated by Andrew Carnegie. The building was designed by Sanford and H.A. Lacey under the supervision of Isaac Gale Perry. The building closed in 2000 and has remained vacant since that time.
1901, philanthropist Andrew Carnegie contributed $75,000 for a library in
Binghamton. Two years later construction
began, at a time when construction was booming in the rapidly growing town. That year saw construction of the library,
the neighboring Security Mutual Life building, and around the corner on
Chenango Street, the 12-story Press Building.
new public library was designed by architects Sanford and H.A. Lacey, and, as
one of the last projects of his career, Isaac Perry acted as design consultant.
The neoclassic-style yellow
brick building is trimmed with limestone.
A two-story front entrance portico is of Greek Ionic style and the
steeply pitched concrete roof is covered with red clay tile. Names of thirteen literary icons including
Emerson, Homer, Plato and Shakespeare are etched in stone above the large
Inside, grand arched
passageways, brick fireplaces, rich wood trim and twin staircases dominate the
first floor. Library shelves once filled the mezzanine, and upstairs is a
magnificent amber skylight.
On the occasion of laying
the cornerstone, which can be seen at the northwest corner of the building, the
facility’s first librarian, William F. Seward, spoke of Binghamton’s new public
library as “the people’s university.”
Functioning as a library, historical museum and community center, the
institution successfully filled that role for nearly 100 years. In 2000, a new home for the library was built
nearby and since that time Carnegie’s “gift to Binghamton” has remained vacant.