Eufaula Carnegie Library

217 North Eufaula Avenue
Eufaula, AL 36027

334-687-2337


History:


In 1903 Andrew Carnegie offered to donate $10,000 to the city of Eufaula for the construction of a public library. On February 9, 1903, the city council accepted Carnegie’s offer, noting that the library “will enhance the value of citizenship and result in good to all the people.” According to the Eufaula Times and News, the city also agreed to appropriate $1,000 annually “to keep the library up.

Local architect Charles A. Stephens designed the building, and the construction contract was let to Algernon Blair of Montgomery.

By October 3, 1903, the first brick was laid in the foundation of the library lot on the corner of Eufaula Avenue and St. James Street. The building was completed and turned over to the city in March 1904.

The first librarian’s salary was $500 per year. The operating expenses for the library’s first six months totaled $525.60, with funds coming from donations, auditorium rentals, member fees and fines.

By 1908 the library was boasting 16,617 circulations per year. The annual budget was $829.81, including $21.94 in fees and fines.

In May 2004 Eufaula Carnegie Library celebrated its one-hundredth anniversary with an open house and gala celebration. Today Eufaula Carnegie is one of only two Carnegie libraries still operating as libraries in the state of Alabama.

One of the outstanding features of Eufaula Carnegie Library is its large second-floor auditorium. In the library’s early years, the auditorium was the scene of high school graduation ceremonies, dances, and public events. Local artists, as well as visiting ones, presented entertainments of all kinds on the auditorium’s stage: dramas, comedies, and many Shakespearean productions.

Dressing rooms originally flanked the auditorium on both sides. When the addition to the library was added in 1990, one of the dressing rooms was altered to create a walkway to the new area.

Both the stage and the remaining dressing room (now used for storage) have slanted or “raked” stages of the type popular in the early 1900s. It was believed that this type of stage afforded the audience a better view of everyone onstage.

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