Wednesday, August 31, 2016

CityDailyPhoto-Theme Day-LIBRARY

Yesterday and Today

On December 13, 1905, dedication ceremonies were held for the newly erected Walla Walla Public Library located at 109 Palouse Street. Former Washington Territorial Governor Miles C. Moore joined civic leaders in welcoming readers and thanking underwriter Andrew Carnegie. Prominent Walla Walla architect Henry Osterman designed the building which was described as an adaptation of the Herrick Library in Wellington, Ohio.

The Walla Walla Public Library was officially organized and established under state law in 1901. It is one of 2,507 libraries worldwide (44 of them in Washington state) funded by steel magnate and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie between 1881 and 1971. Carnegie granted the request by Walla Walla citizens for $25,000 on November 18, 1903, and was accepted by a vote of the City Council on December 1, 1903. By accepting the gift, the City of Walla Walla agreed to provide the site and cover maintenance of library facilities.

The exterior of the building was constructed of deep maroon-colored pressed brick from Kansas and grey sandstone from Tenino, Washington. The roof was tiled, and much of the interior was finished with oak. The building featured two fireplaces, one on the main level and one in the basement.

In May 1970, Walla Walla Public Library moved to a new building at 238 E. Alder Street. On October 6, 1971, the Carnegie library building reopened as the Carnegie Center of the Arts. In 1975 the building was added to the National Register of Historic Places. In 1995 the name was changed to Carnegie Art Center. 

In 2014 the Art Center building changed hands and is now part of Walla Walla Parks and Recreation. Under its direction, the building is home to a pottery painting studio, along with classes in ukulele, guitar, and watercolor painting.

Constructed using similar red brick as the Carnegie library, today's library circulates over 350,000 items annually including books, CDs, DVDs, and magazines.

 In 2006, a Children's addition was completed, and in 2013 a media lab was constructed.

For more theme-day photos of Libraries by other CDP members, look here.

Thanks to for historical information about the Carnegie library.


  1. The buildings are beautiful, and a good use for the former main branch.

    Carnegie picked a very good cause to donate to when he decided on libraries.

  2. Andrew Carnegie definitely was a man of vision!!

  3. It's amazing how similar those old Carnegie libraries are in looks. We updated to a new and more modern library a few years ago. The old Carnegie Library is now used as a historical society and museum. It's in the park across the street from the new library.

  4. Hi from an Aussie in France. Thank you for the very complete history of Walla Walla's libraries.

  5. What a beautiful library and an interesting history.

  6. Ah yes! I've seen a Carnegie library before. I guess it eased his conscience to fund great projects.

  7. Love the look of the old building, but the new one is more practical, I suppose!

  8. If I am ever in Walla Walla again, I would love to see this old bldg......I love that it's been turned into an art center.....very cool. Big part of our heritage and those that truly built America. I love the old buildings and the artistic quality of how they were me there is nothing like brick and granite......and old oak wood. LOL


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