С Рождеством and Happy New Year everyone!
Well, it’s official. We have reached the close of the “Hunky Holiday Season.” Friday, January 06, 2012, is the Epiphany, the 7th will be the Orthodox Russian Christmas, and the following day will be the day that the party was over in Duquesne. Once this date had arrived, most residents began the process of packing away their Christmas decorations, and one by one, dried tree carcasses began appearing outside of everyone’s home.
I remember sitting on the floor with my mother and helping her pack away the Christmas ornaments each year. She would carefully wrap each and every ornament, usually with some old tissue paper that had been saved from gifts from previous years. That was a time before the “BIC disposable everything” mentality most people have today. The ornaments were cherished and were always handled with “TLC” to assure that no damage would occur during their eleven month hibernation in our basement’s “fruit cellar.”
Along with the holidays this year, I have made my fair share of New Year’s resolutions, many of which I’ve already failed to keep. However, I made one resolution that I am determined to keep, without fail. I am bound and determined to continue writing my blog and hopefully increase the number of people reading it by leaps and bounds. My plan is:
- I have secured a direct web address for the blog. Going forward, you can reach The Duquesne Hunky blog by simply using duquesnehunky.com as the link. It just makes it more accessible.
- I will provide more information about our hometown that you might find interesting or fascinating. After all, we are all part of Duquesne’s Family Tree and it would be nice to know more about the components that were part of our culture and roots.
- I will continue to find as many photographs as I can, to share with you. I have recently found more resources and hopefully will have additional photos from our era to share.
- Realizing that it is not just current or former Duquesne residents that are reading this blog, I hope to include more perspectives about the surrounding communities that were part of our lives such as McKeesport, Dravosburg, West Mifflin, Munhall, etc.
So, in order to begin the new year right, I would like to share with you, an article that was part of a special section of the Duquesne Observer, and published in 1902. The Duquesne Observer was published from 18?? to 1912. I believe it may have first been published in 1890, but cannot confirm that date. The Observer eventually merged with the Duquesne Times in 1912.
In 1902, the special edition was titled “The Industrial, Historical Supplement to The Observer.” The publication contained a wealth of information about our hometown; however the section that immediately captured my attention was the part that addressed our beloved library. I realize that I have written about the library previously, but that was basically from a personal perspective. Until I read this article, I never realized the magnitude of our loss when the library was torn down. I’m sure you’ll be feeling as “violated” as I did once you read the article.
It was VERY evident that there was already a deep love for the library even before it opened its doors for the first time on Saturday, May 14, 1904. Following the article, I have included a front page article from The Observer which describes the opening day ceremonies. When the library was demolished, it was a mere 64 years of age. For some reason, I always thought it to be much older. We have all said it before; the demolition of the Carnegie Library of Duquesne was among the greatest travesty’s that occurred in Duquesne. These two articles further exemplify that fact…….
THE DUQUESNE LIBRARY
The ground has been broken and actual work of erection commenced upon the Duquesne public library building, and the indications are that the institution will have been completed and dedicated to the use of the people within another year. The proposed arrangement of the edifice has received the sanction and approval of the donor, Andrew Carnegie, and as a whole, the building will take high rank among the libraries of the world. The structure will be sub-divided as follows:
• Swimming Pool
• Shower baths
• Individual dressing rooms
• Bath rooms
• Wash Rooms
• Men’s and Women’s retiring rooms
• Boiler room
• Engine room
• Two bowling alleys
• Unpacking rooms
• Cataloguing rooms
• The library
• Stack room
• Adults’ reading room
• Children’s reading room
• Librarian’s room
• Attendant’s room
• Billiard room
• Game room
• Reception room
• The office
• The foyer
• The loggia*
• The vestibule
• The music hall
• Dressing rooms
• The gymnasium and locker room
• Physical director’s room
• Balcony of music hall
• Two class rooms
• One lecture room
*Note – Loggia is the name given to an architectural feature, originally of Minoan design. They are often a gallery or corridor at ground level, sometimes higher, on the facade of a building and open to the air on one side, where it is supported by columns or pierced openings in the wall.
A wondrously beautiful and magnificent gift is that which Andrew Carnegie, the prince of the iron and steel world, is about to bestow upon Duquesne. It is a library building, fashioned after the most pleasing and approved models of architecture, substantially constructed, attractive to the eye, stocked with pleasure-giving and strength-bestowing equipment, and furnished in the most luxurious manner – a home for the people, and particularly those who may desire a greater development of mind and body.
The cost of the elegant structure and institution, exclusive of the books with which the library is to be stocked, the apparatus which is to find a place in the gymnasium, the fine pipe organ which is to ornament the music hall, and the grading of the grounds surrounding the building will be $250,000. With these things added, however, the total expenditure to be made by Mr. Carnegie in favor of the town will aggregate considerably more than $300,000. Nothing is to be left undone that will add to the beauty of the edifice or the comfort and enjoyment of those whom Mr. Carnegie seeks to reach. It will be not only a fine institution, but beyond a peradventure, one of the greatest and most complete of its kind in the world, and one of which the people may well afford to be proud. It will likewise be an enduring monument to the munificence of the donor and his intense interest in the intellectual, moral and physical welfare of the workmen through whose efforts and co-operation he has risen to such heights of fame.
THE LIBRARY GROUNDS
The building is to be erected on the elevation bounded by South Second and South Third streets and Kennedy and Whitfield avenues at a point whence it may be seen for a considerable distance in all directions. The ground between the entrance and South Duquesne avenue is to be graded off to a gently falling slope, all the houses now within the limits of the park are to be removed and a 100-foot boulevard is to be opened, running from South Duquesne avenue to the library. The side streets will likewise be open, giving easy access to the building. Spacious lawns will also be laid out, beds of flowers and other of nature’s choicest gifts will be sprinkled about here and there and the surroundings made just as attractive and beautiful as possible.
At the head of the 100-foot boulevard and facing South Second street and the east will be the building itself. The structure will be in the form of the letter “T” inverted, the main part extending along South Second street and the music hall reaching back towards Third street. Its greatest length will be 230 feet and its greatest depth 136 feet. The ends will be circular in form. The walls will be pressed red brick and stone and the roof of tile. At the main entrance an offset, 59 feet in length and 20 feet in depth, is provided, so that the sameness of the front might be relieved. Scores of windows make certain an abundance of good light, not only in the first and second floors, but also in the basement.
The architects have created a pleasing entrance for the building and one that cannot but be greatly admired. It is 59 feet wide, and leading up are a number of stone steps, planted in which are two electro-plated bronze posts, holding aloft, clusters of brilliant electric lamps. At the head of the steps are eight stone pillars, which act as supports for a balcony over the entrance. The passageway into the building is separated into three entrances, the one on the left leading to the library proper, the one in the center leading to the music hall, and the one on the right leading to the gymnasium and billiards hall. These three vestibules, however, are provided with swinging doors, thus giving access from one to the other. They may, also, be all thrown into one, should the occasion require.
THE GREAT BASEMENT
The basement occupies all the space under the entire building and is fitted up in a manner that is keeping with the entire institution. In it are the swimming pool, the dressing rooms, the shower baths, the bath tubs, the wash rooms, the lavatories, the retiring rooms, the boiler and engine rooms, two bowling alleys, the work room and the cataloging room. The swimming pool is situated in the northern end of the basement. It is 60×28 feet. Around the pool is a marble coping, and the pool itself is lined with white enameled tile. The water in the basin will vary in depth from four to six feet. Around three sides of the room are 46 individual dressing rooms, and connected with the apartment are two shower baths. To the west of the pool is the men’s bath room, I8 x 5O feet containing 11 individual bath tubs and three shower baths. Back of this are the men’s lavatory and wash rooms. From the bath room leads a circular stairway to the gymnasium on the second floor. In the rear of the basement are the men’s and women’s retiring rooms, which are connected by stairways with the stage in the music hall on the first floor.
Large boiler and engine rooms are situated under the music hall and two bowling alleys occupy the space under the entrance. These alleys are 85 x 18 feet and are provided with comfortable seats for both spectators and players. To the south of this little pleasure resort is a work room, 40×20 feet, and immediately adjoining it is the unpacking room, 28×20 feet, where all books and furniture may be received and unpacked. In the southern circular end of the basement is a commodious cataloguing room. Here all books will be properly catalogued, marked and placed in bookcases, preparatory to being sent to the library by means of an elevator.
THE FIRST FLOOR
The first floor, the most important of the institution, is separated into the library, the main reading room, the librarian’s room, the children’s reading room, the game room, an office, the foyer, the music hall and dressing rooms, all elaborately furnished, finished and decorated.
The library proper occupies the entire southern wings of the building, and in the circular part is the stack room, which is provided with huge bookcases for the proper care and listing of the books. Its greatest dimensions are 42×21 feet at the entrance to the apartment are the delivery clerks’ desks, and adjoining these desks is the delivery room, 66×14 feet. A person wishing to obtain a book may pass from the delivery room (by means of turn doors) into the stack room, where he may look through the bookcases and select whatever volume he may desire, the same being delivered to him by the delivery clerics, of whom there will possibly be three. At the start 20,000 volumes will be placed at the disposal of the public.
In the eastern part of this end of the building is the main reading room, 48×20 feet. It is for the use of adults only and is provided with numerous bookcases for periodicals and books. Fourteen tables are arranged at different points for readers. Adjoining this apartment on the north is the librarian’s room, 8×20 feet. To the west of the delivery room is the children’s reading room, 48×20 feet. This apartment is for the use of children only, is provided with necessary bookcases and twelve tables. The chairs, tables, washstands and all the furniture are smaller and lower, to suit the convenience of the little folks. Adjoining this room on the north is the attendants’ room, 8×20 feet.
From the entrance vestibules of the building one is ushered into the foyer or reception hall, which is 40×22 feet. It is beautifully decorated and brilliantly lighted. Two stairways lead from it into the balcony of the music hall.
The music hall is in that end of the building west of the foyer. Its greatest dimensions, from door to stage, are 52x6O feet. It will be seated with comfortable opera chairs and have two main and two side aisles. Its seating capacity will be 850. At the western end of the hall is the stage, 65 feet wide and 22 feet deep, with dressing rooms on either side. At the left of the stage room is provided, also, for a large pipe organ, which is to be presented by Mrs. Carnegie. The balcony extends out over a part of the rear of the hall and is also provided with opera chairs. The decorations of the music hall will be very fine.
The billiard and pool room is situated in the northern end of the first floor and is 52×56 feet in dimensions. On its floor are five billiard and two pool tables, with seats in the circular end of the room for spectators. Persons will be allowed the use of the tables for 20 minutes at a time —that is, if there be others waiting their turn; otherwise they may play as long as they wish. Adjoining the billiard room on the south is a parlor, or more properly, a reception room. It is 21×21 feet.
Adjoining this reception room on the east is the game room, which promises to become very popular with all classes. It is a commodious apartment and will be provided with all sorts of innocent games and amusements. Next comes an office 8×20 feet, and a coat room of the same dimensions. A vestibule, 14×02 feet, extends all the way from the billiard room to the delivery room of the library proper.
THE SECOND FLOOR
The second floor is fully as spacious as the first floor and contains much of interest. Included within its walls are a complete gymnasium and locker room, a physical director’s office, the balcony of the music hall, two class rooms and one lecture room.
The gymnasium is located in the northern wing and immediately over the billiard room. Its dimensions are 80×55 feet, and around three sides of it are forty lockers, or closets, in which the members may keep their clothing and valuables under lock and key. It is fitted up with the very latest apparatus, such as horizontal bars, parallel bars, swinging rings, Indian clubs, dumb bells, weights, etc. A flight of stairs leads from one end of the room directly to the swimming pool and bath rooms in the basement, making access from the gymnasium to the baths very easy. The gymnasium will be in charge, of course, of a physical director whose office will adjoin the gymnasium. The rear wing of this floor is taken up with the upper part or the music hall and the balcony of the same.
In the southern wing is a lecture room, 53×28 feet. It is to be seated with chairs and is for the use of smaller gatherings than would require such a large room as the music hall. Alongside of it are two class rooms, each of which is 29×20 feet. These are for the use of different classes which it is proposed to organize for study of various subjects.
The floors in both stories of the building will be of yellow pine, except in the loggia (just inside the entrance), the foyer and the vestibule on the first floor, in which case marble is to be used.
The contract for the heating and ventilating apparatus has been awarded to Baker, Smith & Co. of New York. It will, of course, be of the very latest design and of the most approved pattern. Steam heat will be employed. Electricity will be used for lighting both the building and grounds, the current to be supplied from the Carnegie works. Weldon & Kelly of Pittsburg have the contract for the plumbing of the institution, and it goes with the saying that it will be complete in every detail.
MODE OF CONDUCTING
This great building and its furnishings are to be presented to the people of Duquesne free of all cost, but it cannot be expected that all the privileges of the same are to be extended gratis. A board of directors will be in control and will have charge of all affairs relating to the conduct of the institution. These directors will probably be six in number, three coming from the Carnegie works and the remaining ones from the town. The privileges of the library proper and the reading rooms will be absolutely free to those who care to make use of them Any reputable person—man, woman or child — may take out one book per day, providing he or she return it, in good condition, within a certain length of time, say one or two weeks. Otherwise the lease on the book must be renewed or a fine paid.
Immediately after the dedication of the building an organization will be formed, to be known probably as the Duquesne Library Athletic club, the members of which will be granted the use and privileges not only of the library, but also every remaining department of the building, including the gymnasium, the baths, the billiard parlors, the bowling alleys, etc. Rates of membership in this organization will be about as follows: For employees of the Carnegie works, $1 per quarter; for residents of the town, not employees of the Carnegie works, $2 per quarter.
HISTORY OF THE PROJECT
On November 12, 1898, a committee of citizens called upon Mr. Carnegie at the Carnegie offices in Pittsburg, and through Dr. L. H. Botkin, their spokesman, made known the fact that Duquesne desired a library at the hands of the steel king. On the committee were: Messrs. John W. Crawford, L. H. Botkin, L. Kurlong, Rev. Father D. Shanahan, Prof. W. D. Brightwell, W. C. Libengood, G. W. Richards, A. E. Freeman, Wm. Dell, C. S. Harrop, P. H. Gilday and A. M. Blair.
The committee was introduced to Mr. Carnegie by Jos. E. Schwab, then general superintendent of the Duquesne steel works, and was soon informed that the town would be presented with a library building fully as good as that which had been erected at Homestead. The matter of arranging the details for the erection of the library was left by Mr. Carnegie in charge of Supt. Schwab who, after consulting with leading citizens, selected for the site that plot of ground surrounded by South Third street, Kennedy avenue, South Duquesne avenue and Line alley (now Whitfield avenue). The property was purchased from Mrs. Priscilla Kennedy and Miss Zella Bovard, at a cost of about $80,000. The plans for the building were prepared by Alden A Harlow of Pittsburg, and the contract for the erection of the edifice was awarded to Miller & Sons of the same city. The actual work of construction was commenced on July 10, 1901, and is now progressing in a satisfactory manner.
THE FOLLOWING ARTICLE APPEARED IN THE OBSERVER ON FRIDAY, MAY 20, 1904. IT ADDRESSES THE OPENING DAY CEREMONIES FOR THE DUQUESNE LIBRARY: