JEFFERSON County residents have benefited from industrialist Andrew Carnegie's good memory.
Carnegie provided funds to build a new library in Steubenville in 1899 - nearly a half century after he was there while working on the telegraph.
Now, more than 110 years later, an Ohio Historical Marker commemorating the Andrew Carnegie/Carnegie Library of Steubenville will be dedicated at the main library of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County. The date for that ceremony is Aug. 28 at 11 a.m.
The Jefferson County residents were helped because of Carnegie's belief "that a responsible person of wealth should help his fellow man."
The library system, which began with that facility in Steubenville, has spread throughout the county. In addition to the main library in Steubenville, the system's branch libraries are Adena, Brilliant, Dillonvale-Mount Pleasant, Tiltonsville, Toronto and Schiappa (also Steubenville).
Alan Hall, director of the Public Library of Steubenville and Jefferson County, said the August dedication ceremony will precede an open house, and tours and activities also are planned. He said the ceremony and related events are open to the public, and invitations recently were sent to officials.
Referring to Carnegie's 1899 notification about the funds, Hall said, "Right in his letter, he remembered when he was here, learning to run the telegraph."
Carnegie was 13 years of age when he immigrated from Dunfermline, Scotland, to Pennsylvania with his family. At the age of 17, he was sent to the telegraph office in Steubenville when a flood destroyed the wires between Steubenville and Wheeling.
Then, on June 30, 1899, he offered $62,500 to build a new library with the stipulation that Steubenville's residents would provide the site and money to maintain the library. The new library, which opened in 1902, was one of the first Carnegie libraries in Ohio.
Hall said the first three Carnegie libraries in Ohio all had some connection to the industrialist.
A letter was sent to East Liverpool at the same time as the one in Steubenville, informing officials about the availability of funds for a library. Also, another letter was sent to Sandusky that summer, and the library facility there was the first one of those three libraries constructed, according to Hall.
The library director explained that Carnegie's aunt resided in East Liverpool, and Carnegie, who was living in Pennsylvania, would spend summers at his aunt's home. The Sandusky area was the location of the iron ore docks, which provided ore for Carnegie's steel mills.
Carnegie, sometimes called the "king of steel" and "the richest man in the world," didn't limit his library funding to the United States. The first Carnegie Library was constructed in Dunfermline, Scotland, his hometown, in 1881.
His second library was in Braddock, Pa., where one of the Carnegie Steel Co.'s major steel mills was located.
Although early on, endowments were given for some libraries, municipalities later were required to help in subsidizing the facilities.
The steelmaker's philanthropy provided funding for thousands of public libraries throughout the world, including 380 in Great Britain. His other philanthropic endeavors were varied, such as the donation of 7,000 church organs and establishment of the Endowment for International Peace in an attempt to prevent future wars.
According to the Spartacus Educational website, he set up a trust fund "for the improvement of mankind. In addition to providing funding for libraries, it included funding for "the Carnegie Institute of Pittsburgh, the Carnegie Institute of Technology and the Carnegie Institution of Washington for research into the natural and physical sciences ...
"By the time Andrew Carnegie died in August, 1919, he had given away $350,000,000. A further $125 million was placed with the Carnegie Corporation to carry on his good works."
Hall said the Ohio Historical Markers usually have the same information on both sides, but the one to be dedicated in Steubenville includes different information on the sides. He said when it was being prepared, the Historical Society noted there had been no marker to Carnegie as a philanthropist so one side tells about his donations for libraries and the other provides information about the library in Jefferson County.
The texts on the marker include:
"Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919)
"Andrew Carnegie was born in Dunfermline, Scotland. He immigrated to Allegheny City Pennsylvania with his family when he was 13. While operating the telegraphs for the Pennsylvania Railroad, Carnegie preceived the great need for steel in the railroad industry. With this insight, he founded the Carnegie Steel Corporation which operated for 35 years before he sold it to J.P. Morgan in 1901. Andrew Carnegie wrote the article, "Wealth" in 1889 in which he said that a responsible person of wealth should help his fellow man. Carnegie's philanthropy provided 2,509 libraries throughout the world. Carnegie was already familiar with the city when he wrote a letter to offer funds to build the Steubenville library on June 30, 1899. (Continued on other side)
"Carnegie Library of Steubenville
"(Continued from other side) As a young man, Carnegie was sent to a Steubenville telegraph office when a flood destroyed the wires between Steubenville and Wheeling. As part of his offer to build the library, Carnegie stipulated that the city's citizens would have to provide the site and money to maintain the library. The library was one of the first funded by Carnegie in Ohio and opened on March 12, 1902. Designed by the Pittsburgh architectural firm of Alden & Harlow, the Richardsonian Romanesque building shares its style with a smaller Oakmont Pennsylvania library. Both libraries were designed using features of the 1888 Cambridge Massachusetts city hall. The diagonal brick patterns on the ends of the structure are unique to this building. This library was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1992."
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