Carnegie Library, Sioux Falls (Carnegie Town Hall)
This historic building opened its doors in 1903 and was made possible by local funds and a matching grant from Andrew Carnegie that helped create hundreds of public libraries. The building served as the city's library until 1972. From 1972 to 1999, the building was home to the Civic Arts Center . From 2001 to the present, the building operates as the center of Sioux Falls city government.
Backstory and Context
The Sioux Falls library (opened, 1903) and named for Andrew Carnegie, stands as a living monument to Carnegie's desire to fund libraries, schools and hospitals. Coming to America as a nearly penniless thirteen-year-old Scottish immigrant, Carnegie worked his way up the ranks as a messenger (telegraph operator) and other jobs until he eventually succeeded working in the railway industry and finally made his fortune as a steel magnate. As he described in his famous 1889 "Gospel of Wealth," he felt it necessary that those who amassed great wealth during the Gilded Age should engage in philanthropic endeavors rather than hoard it -- the Sioux Falls library is one example of his philosophy.
His first job, in 1848, involved working at a Pennsylvania cotton mill. However, he taught himself Morse code and, as a result, one year later, left that job one year later to work as a messenger in a Pittsburgh telegraph office. Indeed, he proved to be one of the fastest telegraphers around, which afforded him the opportunity to gain employment with the Pennsylvania Railroad as a private secretary and telegrapher to a railroad official.
City of Sioux Falls. "Carnegie Town Hall: Carnegie Building Historical Information." Siouxfalls.org. Accessed January 19, 2018. http://www.siouxfalls.org/contactus/municipal-bldgs/carnegie-hall.
Putz, Paul. "Nomination Form: Carnegie Library." National Register of Historic Places. Feb 21, 1973. https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/8681b588-fa2a-4b7a-a71c-1ba0e71e2dbb
Photo SourcesAndrew Carnegie: By Theodore C. Marceau - Library of Congress, Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=1429049
Carnegie Building (front & rear) found at: http://www.siouxfalls.org/contactus/municipal-bldgs/carnegie-hall . A slideshow of photos can be found at the bottom of the article.
Additional Photos can be found at the National Register of Historic Places: https://npgallery.nps.gov/GetAsset/cd8c0a09-47ea-4acd-8dd8-3e0dce6f9883/