You Can Thank Andrew Carnegie For These Local Libraries

Philanthropist Andrew Carnegie left his mark on the Hudson Valley, helping to build nearly a dozen libraries in grateful towns.


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Mount Vernon Public Library

In this digital age, it’s difficult to imagine being unable to easily access reading material. Yet without public libraries, communities found themselves in an information desert more than a hundred years ago.

Philanthropist and steel baron Andrew Carnegie changed all that in the mid-19th century, donating $40 million to build 1,679 libraries across the United States. He mandated certain rules, known as “the Carnegie formula,” that included public fundraising and proof that a library was needed.

Port Jervis Free Library; Chatham's library boasts a Tiffany window

In honor of National Library Week, April 8–14 (which itself marks a milestone, celebrating its 60th anniversary this year), we look at Carnegie libraries that were built in the Hudson Valley:

  • Catskill: 1902
  • Kingston: 1903, closed 1974, reopened 2011 as learning center
  • Nyack: 1903
  • Port Jervis: 1903
  • Yonkers: 1903, razed 1982
  • Mount Vernon: 1904
  • Chatham: 1905
  • White Plains: 1908, razed 1973
  • New Rochelle: 1914, closed 1979; now privately owned
  • Ossining: 1914, new building constructed in 1968
  • Saugerties: 1915


To view more photos, go to www.hvmag.com/carnegielibraries

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