451 North 2nd Street
The Carnegie Library -The building of Lander’s beautiful public library was put into motion when Andrew Carnegie gave money to towns to build public libraries.
In 1901 Carnegie, at the age of 66, was known as the world’s richest man. Andrew Carnegie's life was a true "rags to riches" story. Born to a poor Scottish family that immigrated to the United States, Carnegie became a powerful businessman and a leading force in the American steel industry.
Lander banker, S. Conant Parks, was appointed by the Mayor to apply to Mr. Carnegie for the $15,000.00 grant funds for a public library. However, the money for the building was the first step. There was a requirement for the county to commit public funds for the support of a library. And, land needed to be acquired to build upon. A generous donation of land came from Eugene Amoretti, Sr. and his business partner S. Conant Parks.
The formal groundbreaking for the library took place on August 1, 1907. The library was not completed until 1908. Adam Griesmer was hired as the architect. Some of the design elements in the interior of the building consisted of a metal ceiling on the main floor to be painted to match the plastered walls. There was a reference room, librarian’s room, stack room, and an assembly hall. The reading area of the library was arranged around a fireplace. Books were not loaned out until 1910-- up until then users made themselves comfortable and settled in to read.
More expensive materials and construction methods were used on the main floor while the plans for the lower level were more conservative. Previous librarians have said that one librarian lived in the basement. She loved cats and kept several in her downstairs apartment. But the result was unpleasant as the basement began to smell and offended those who met in a room known as the Ladies Assembly Hall. After the librarian left her job, the apartment was never again offered as part of an employee’s benefits.